Appalachian Genesis

Director: William Richardson
Release Year: 1971
Running Time: 25:52
Original Format: 16mm Film
Color / B&W: color

In this film, Appalachia youth speak out about the coal industry, the educational system, job opportunities, health care availability, politics and poverty. Appalachian Genesis, one of the first Appalshop films, was commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission to document the state of mind of Appalachian young people in the early 1970s. It presents a vivid picture of the social activism and upheaval that had begun in the 1960s and the War on Poverty. The film retains its validity today as young people in growing numbers of communities across the country find themselves in similar situations.

This film was preserved by Appalshop Archive with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. To support the work of preserving and safeguarding Appalshop’s collections, please consider making a donation to Appalshop Archive.

Screenings & Festivals

Kentucky Educational Television

Museum of Modern Art

Walker Art Center


“If I had to pick only one film to express the frustrations of the Appalachian, it would be Appalachian Genesis.” –Dr. David Mielke, Department of Secondary Education, Appalachian State University

“Excellent introduction to the problems and hopes of Appalachian residents.” –Thomas D. York, First Presbyterian Church, Wausau, Wisconsin