Meet Dr. Helen Lewis

In 2005 The Craddock Center board began an annual lecture to honor Dr. Helen Lewis and to focus on various aspects of Appalachian life. The goal of the lecture series was to preserve and improve Appalachian life.

Helen Lewis is a native of Georgia educated at Georgia State College for Women (BA), Duke University, University of Virginia (MA), and University of Kentucky (PhD). She taught and worked in the Central Appalachian coalfields from 1955 to 1990 blazing a trail for understanding the promise and problems of Appalachia. She is one of the founding members of the Appalachian Studies Association.

As a sociologist, anthropologist, and educator she has lit many a fire for justice in both students and community organizations. Her entire life has been dedicated to helping others help themselves. She has written many articles and books including Mountain Sisters (University of Kentucky Press, 2003). A collection of her writings, Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia, was published in 2012 (University of Kentucky Press), and in 2013, Helen was awarded the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award for Nonfiction.

In 2014, The Craddock Center merged two of its annual events, the Helen Lewis Lecture and Songs & Stories to create Songs & Stories in Honor of Helen Lewis. Read more about this year's event!