In 1932, Myles Horton and friends formed the Highlander Folk School in rural Tennessee to help coal miners and other labor leaders understand what it takes to organize and demand livable wages and benefits for their families during the Great Depression. By the mid 1950's, the focus changed to organizing participants in the Civil Rights Movement. Some of the notable names that passed through the School in the first 30 years include first Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Pete Seeger.
This week on From the Vault we feature a 1960 documentary on the Highlander Folk School, now known as the Highlander Research and Education Center. Produced and hosted by legendary KPFA Public Affairs Director Elsa Knight Thompson, this piece features interviews with school founder Myles Horton, director Septima Clark, and citizenship steward Esau Jenkins, among others, as well as actuality recorded in and around the school.
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.