August 27, 2014

North Carolina at Work

North Carolina at Work: Cedric Chatterley’s Portraits and Landscapes of Traditional Labor

Recently, farmer, poet, and essayist Wendell Berry delivered the 41st Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Berry argued that the long-term hope for our nation’s health is to cultivate communities of “stickers” – people who are not motivated by profit above all, but “are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”

North Carolina is full of such communities – workers who want to succeed and prosper, while also remaining connected to their heritage and to the places they call home. They farm, and they feel for clams. They feed us, and they pray over us. They encounter the land directly as they gather walnuts for dyeing, dig for clay, or cut timber. Some workers have found ways to profit from tradition – showing customers the beauty in objects made an older way, or developing tourism around heritage sites. Others are struggling with what seems a choice between maintaining traditions and earning a living.

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