I’m thrilled to share that A Singing Army: Zilphia Horton and the Highlander Folk School is finally out in the world! You can pick up a copy anywhere books are sold.
In case you missed our launch event with my favorite local indie bookstore, Malaprop’s, I thought I’d share the video of it below. It was fun to get to catch up with Hilary Saunders, who I handed my old job over to when I left No Depression in 2017 to finish writing this book. Hilary has done an awesome job at the helm of ND and it was fun to get to be on the receiving end of her interviewing skills.
It has been so satisfying to finally see Zilphia’s story out in the world, 65 years after she passed.
I have often wondered what Zilphia would have to say about the world we live in today, and it’s impossible to know the answer. After all, she never saw the Civil Rights Act happen. She never saw the Voting Rights Act. Much less every outcropping of social movement that has taken place since. In many ways, the world we live in now is the result of the one she occupied. But I think some of what she had to say about what was happening in her time still applies:
You have to take care of one another.
You have to organize and vote.
You have to believe in something.
She was a person who saw all of us as connected, regardless of our background or belief system or nationality or religion. Like the waterlilies whose roots are all intertwined, down deep in the muck, below the darkness of the ground within the water, we’re part of a system. How can we all flourish and live into our beauty? Not by cutting one another off, but by nourishing one another–and ourselves. That includes love and compassion. It includes all of the arts and cultural expressions. And it includes participation in making everything better for everyone.
It’s been a crazy hard year, but then the world is a crazy hard place. The idea that it’s not always crazy hard is a privilege we have lived with on occasion, by virtue of the place we were born or the color of our skin or the access we have to various comforts. It’s not an actual fact of life on Earth, in any universal sense. Sometimes the only way to respond is with gratitude, or else to go crazy.
I hope you are not going crazy. I hope you’re finding some sanity, somehow, these days. Whoever you are, wherever you are. More to come in the weeks ahead!