Appalachia Through My Eyes – Berea College

The campus of Berea College is beautiful. I’ve only been there in the Spring of the year-but I’m positive it’s just as lovely during all the other seasons as well. There are lots of reasons why I like Berea College-the lovely campus, the connection it has with the John C. Campbell Folk School, the annual Mountain Folk Festival-and the list goes on and on. But one of my favorite things-is the reason Berea was founded. Here are 2 of my favorite quotes from the college page:

*This quote is describing the early days of the college:

“The startled railroad surveyor dropped his notebook as his surveying instrument focused on a brick structure extending above the forest canopy. Ladies Hall, Berea College’s first brick building, seemed totally out of place in the woodland setting. “Whoever put up that building in this wilderness must have had faith,” the surveyor observed.”

*This quote is describing the reason behind the school:

“It also was agreed that the school would furnish work for as many students as possible, in order to help them pay their expenses and to dignify labor at a time when manual labor and slavery tended to be synonymous in the South.”

I love that the founders had faith-and I love that they wanted to help the students-by teaching them skills to work their way through college-I’m sure many of those students used those skills for the rest of their lives. And I bet the students at Berea today do too.

Tipper

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

 

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Becky
    April 17, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I have never been there and never heard of it till now, unless maybe other than in passing. After reading this post and following the link to the history….I love this school and what it stands for. So glad it has withstood the test of time.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I’ve never seen the campus but ave always heard good things about Berea. We have Warren Wilson college here in Swannannoa. It is a similar school

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson (USA)
    April 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Atmosphere alone would get me there!

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    April 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Have visited the campus and stayed in the Boone Tavern and Inn. Enjoyed the food and hospitality there. Wonderful gift shop and all staffed by students!

  • Reply
    Greta Koehl
    April 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Love Berea! We stayed there years ago, have contributed, and still get the Berea magazine.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Tipper–I attended a college which, at least in the 1960s, was much like Berea–King College in Bristol, TN. Virtually all of us worked–In my four years I washed dishes, worked on the ground crew, and stoked furnaces. The latter was dirty work indeed, but I liked it best because I could work on my own hours.
    Another reader mentioned Berry, and in the 1960s it was similar to King (and has an absolutely lovely campus). Warren-Wilson near Asheville was (is?) also like this, as was Maryville College in Tennessee. All were places for aspiring kids from Appalachia to continue their educations without lack of money being an impediment. All taught something which is increasingly rare–book learning combined with a solid work ethic.
    If my memory serves me rightly (and it doesn’t always), Jesse Stuart was prominently connected with Berea. He spoke at King when I was in college, and what an inspiration he was to a poor mountain boy. If you (and others) aren’t familiar with his impressive body of literary work,you have a treat awaiting you. I personally think he’s better than Wilma Dykeman, and I’m mighty partial to her writings.
    Jim Casada
    http://www.jimcasadautdoors.com
    P. S. Don and I are in Bryson City and we just had a fine meal featuring ramps and morels. What a feast. All it lacked was trout, but I intend to remedy that tomorrow.

  • Reply
    warren
    April 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Two of my very best friends graduated from Berea and it is a great and beautiful place. I know both of those guys are absolutely thankful for the opportunities that they were given because of their time there!

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Tipper,
    After reading about the humble beginnings of Berea, it seems they were no different from most Colleges. It just took time to better work things out. I’m glad the school has stood the test of time and maintained the faith and dignity in work we all need…Ken

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    April 8, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Where I live there is a college named Berry College. It is the largest college (land wise) in the world! It was started in 1902 by Miss Martha Berry. For more than a century, Berry College has emphasized the commitment to providing a firsthand educational experience – expressed as “Head, Heart and Hands”
    In 1902 and for many years after, they did not admit students who had come from families who had money. It was built only for the poor. The students worked their way through learning how to spin, weave, work in a dairy, farm, etc. Its still a wonderful college, but sadly, the thing about coming only if you had no money, is gone. I think Miss Berry would roll over in her grave.

  • Reply
    Celia Miles
    April 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Tipper,
    I’m a Berea fan, a Berea graduate (’62)who worked at Boone Tavern my first (my junior year since I tranferred) year and in the English Dept. my last year. We go back occasionally to reunions and homecomings. I find it “different” in being “spiffied-up” but the basic attitudes are still there: a sense of community and caring, student responsibility and excellent instruction. Celia

  • Reply
    Jen
    April 8, 2011 at 9:02 am

    What a loveley place and the quotes are interesting…wish more colleges felt the same way.

  • Reply
    Charline
    April 8, 2011 at 8:49 am

    It’s encouraging to know there are still places like Berea College in this country.

  • Reply
    Nancy
    April 8, 2011 at 8:33 am

    A lovely campus. Thanks for sharing some of the history. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 8, 2011 at 8:28 am

    It is a beautiful place. It is a shame the these concepts are not followed throughout our country.

  • Reply
    Cannedquilter
    April 8, 2011 at 8:22 am

    It looks lovely : )

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    April 8, 2011 at 8:12 am

    My daughter has applied to Berea for the fall semester. We have been waiting to hear is she is accepted. Her last letter said that she should hear by the end of April. My grandfather went to Berea in the early 1900’s , left to join the Army. We hope to visit the campus if she is accepted. Barbara Gantt

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