"Land of Tomorrow" (01:42)
In the late 18th century, Daniel Boone and a several hundred thousand settlers walked through Cumberland Gap to make Kentucky their home. But the Shawnee Indians had been living there for centuries. They gave the place its name, Kenta Aki, which meant “the land of tomorrow.”
Settlers and Conflict (08:10)
The game in Kentucky was so abundant that the Shawnee and Cherokee could live there for centuries, hunting buffalo, deer, elk, and turkey. In the 18th century, these indigenous people came into conflict with white settlers who had come west in search of land.
Bluegrass Elites (06:04)
Kentucky’s Bluegrass region and its thoroughbred racing tradition can be traced to elite families who came to the state 200 years ago. They included some of the wealthiest and most powerful families of Virginia. R.A. Alexander, one of the richest men in the world, founded Woodburn Farm.
Coal Industry and "Bloody Harlan" (13:19)
In 1888, a New York journalist named Charles Dudley Warner traveled through Eastern Kentucky, marveling at the region’s abundant resources, which included high quantities of coal and timber. The speculators, land developers, and industrialists arrived in the late 1800s, heralding decades of exploitation and labor disputes.
Tobacco and Black Patch War (04:10)
Kentucky led the nation in tobacco production in the years following the Civil War. The state’s tobacco farmers found themselves going into debt and poverty as they sold to the monopoly-controlling American Tobacco Company. They formed the Planters’ Protective Association, setting the stage for the Black Patch Tobacco Wars.
Tennessee Valley Authority (08:56)
President Franklin Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933 to combat unemployment created by the Great Depression and persistent flooding that plagued Appalachian communities. The program provided jobs and brought electric power to rural Kentucky, but critics called it socialist.
Pikeville Cut-Through, Widow Combs (11:47)
Pikeville began a project known as the Pikeville Cut-Through in 1973 which completely reinvigorated the town upon its completion 14 years later. In 1961, Ollie “Widow” Combs stood up to a company that threatened to ruin her property with strip mining and became a symbol of resistance.
Credits: Kentucky: an American Story - the Land (01:34)
Credits: Kentucky: an American Story - the Land
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