Reading Kevin D. Williamson’s article (“Left Behind,” December 16) reminded me of my experience working with urbanized Appalachians in the Indianapolis neighborhood known as Stringtown back in the early ’60s. I served on (then) Indianapolis mayor Richard Lugar’s Appalachian-affairs council. Mr. Williamson makes several references to those leaving Appalachia and moving to larger cities; my work was at the other end — working with those who had immigrated to, in this case, Indianapolis.
Appalachian immigrants in Stringtown lived in very run-down single-family homes, and efforts to interest residents in bettering the neighborhood proved challenging, as “home” remained the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. Only after rather thorough research and some innovative approaches to community organization was real progress made.