By Barr Memorial LibraryAugust 27, 2019
Barr Memorial Library and Kentucky Chautauqua are joining forces to present "Aunt Molly Jackson: Pistol Packin' Woman" at the library Aug. 29, beginning at 6 p.m.
Born in Clay County in 1880, Aunt Molly Jackson spent most of the first 50 years of her life in coal camps in southeastern Kentucky as a midwife, union organizer, and as the daughter, sister and wife of coal miners.
In late 1931, when Theodore Dreiser and his committee of writers visited Bell and Harlan counties to gather information on conditions in the coal fields, Jackson sang them her original song "Hungry Ragged Blues." Impressed with her eloquence and her knowledge of the lives of miners and their families, Dreiser arranged for her to travel to New York to help raise funds for the striking miners.
Aunt Molly Jackson spent much of the 1930s performing in New York and around the country as part of a group of political singer-songwriters. The coal miner's wife from Kentucky became well known among New York City newspaper reporters, folklorists, musicologists, radicals and intellectuals.
Aunt Molly Jackson is portrayed by Anne Shelby. Shelby is the author of 10 books, including poetry, folktales, newspaper columns and books for children. Her plays have been produced by Jenny Wiley Theatre, Pleiades Theatre and others, and as part of the Barter Theatre's Festival of Appalachian Plays and Playwrights.
Shelby has taught at the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, the Appalachian Writers Workshop at Hindman Settlement School, and at Lexington's School for the Creative and Performing Arts. A native of southeastern Kentucky, she lives on Tegas Creek in Clay County, a few miles from the birthplace of Aunt Molly Jackson.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Barr Memorial Library at 502-624-1232 or visit the website at the link below.