Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lily Keber, March 14, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina

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Partial Transcript: This is Jeff Keith with Lily Keber on March 14th, 2016.

Segment Synopsis: Keber discusses growing up in Todd, North Carolina and living among a vast wilderness that was her own personal playground. She also talks about how living in the mountains as a child enhanced her visual arts abilities.

Keywords: Ages; Arts magnet; Blue Ridge Parkway; Clean visual aesthetic; Context; Farmhouses; Film; Green Valley Elementary School; Heritage; Media; Middle schools; Mountains; Park rangers; Piedmont (Ga.); Space; Timeless; Visual arts; Watauga High School; Woods

Subjects: Boone (N.C.); Childhood; Education; New Orleans (La.); Rural conditions; Savannah (Ga.); Todd (N.C.); Visual arts

00:06:34 - Her family's roots / Local culture

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Partial Transcript: Uh, you, you mentioned that you were born in the Piedmont.

Segment Synopsis: Keber tells how her family came to be in America, as well as how her mother and father met. She also talks about local culture growing up in North Carolina and her awareness of it around her.

Keywords: Ancient history; Anthropology; Choctaw; City planners; Coal miners; Doc Watson; Experiences; Family roots; Garth Brooks; Guitars; Kentucky; Local culture; Mayflower; Park service; Slave owners; United States Merchant Marines; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Watauga County (N.C.)

Subjects: Coal mining; Culture; Family histories.; Music.; Rural conditions

00:14:09 - Moving away from the mountains

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Partial Transcript: So, at age sixteen, you were saying, so, in the '90s you, uh--'98--you moved to Savannah, Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Keber talks about what it was like leaving the mountains and moving to Savannah, Georgia. She mentions how she believes it was the right thing to do because of the social conditions in her hometown.

Keywords: Accents; African Americans; Community; Drugs; High schools; Jobs; Kentucky; Mountains; Newcomers; Other; Shame; Teachers; University of Georgia

Subjects: Boone (N.C.); Culture shock.; Rural conditions; Savannah (Ga.)

00:20:25 - Her visual arts education

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Partial Transcript: So, between the magnet school and your own, like, aesthetic sensibilities, you got--you became interested in visual art.

Segment Synopsis: Keber discusses her visual arts education at the Savannah Arts Academy and the University of Georgia. She talks about the classes she took that got her into film studies as well as how she came to stumble upon Appalshop, Inc.

Keywords: Documentary; Essays; Fabric design; Film production; Film studies minor; Filmmakers; Foundation classes; Imagery; Interns; Internships; Media; Mimi Pickering; Mountains; Multicultural film studies; Narrative; Savannah Arts Academy; University of Georgia

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Art.; Education; Education, Higher; Film.; Visual arts

00:27:22 - Appalshop, Inc.

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Partial Transcript: I'm wanting to talk about your time at Appalshop.

Segment Synopsis: Keber discusses what she learned while she was working for Appalshop, Inc. and how that experience has played into her work in post-Katrina New Orleans, Louisiana. She also talks about her awareness of organizations in New Orleans similar to Appalshop, Inc. because of the guidance she found within the company.

Keywords: Anne Braden; Appalshop, Inc.; Awareness; Civil rights history; Community; Community media; Filmmakers; Hazel Dickens; Houses; Hurricane Katrina; Immigrant detention facility; Internships; Interviews; Introductions; Martin Luther King Jr.; Media; Mimi Pickering; Mountain culture; Novac; Organizations; Orientation; Outsiders; Projects; Radio stations; River Farm; Software; Southern media; Staff; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Therapeutic; Tom Hansell; White privilege

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Civil rights movements; Community media; Film.; Filmed interviews.; New Orleans (La.); Whitesburg (Ky.)

00:39:59 - Starting community media groups in New Orleans, Louisiana

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Partial Transcript: I was curious because the next question...

Segment Synopsis: Keber discusses the community media groups she set up in New Orleans, Louisiana based off the teaching strategies and techniques she learned to utilize at the Appalachian Media Institute.

Keywords: Actors; Appalachia Media Institute; Appalshop, Inc.; Colleges; Community media groups; Confidence; Conversation; Doctors; Film making; Framework; Hurricane Katrina; Logistics; Media; Media literacy; Murder rates; Public health assessment; Questions; Services; Skills; Social workers; Strategies; Training; Transcriptions; Video; Video Voices Project

Subjects: Central City (La.); Communities.; Community media; Film.; New Orleans (La.); Teaching; Visual arts

00:55:34 - Feeling like an outsider in the mountains of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Go back to Appalshop.

Segment Synopsis: Keber discusses the feeling of being an outsider in the mountains of Kentucky and compares that to how she feels when in her hometown of Boone, North Carolina. She also talks about being from the mountains as a part of her identity.

Keywords: Activism; Chords; Gentrification; Hazel Dickens; Hometowns; Insiders; Instruments; Isolating; Kentucky; Lyrics; Mimi Pickering; Moonshine; Mountain culture; Mountains; Outsiders; Suburbs

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Boone (N.C.); Identity (Psychology); Whitesburg (Ky.)

01:02:31 - Her mentors at Appalshop, Inc.

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Partial Transcript: Um, about mentorship, I'm, I'm curious about anyone else you might have worked with at, at Appalshop who had an effect on, on a certain way you look at filmmaking or your work with media.

Segment Synopsis: Keber discusses the mentors she had during her internship at Appalshop, Inc., as well as the opportunities she got because of that, and the responsibility she feels to give back what she was given to the youth in the community she lives in now.

Keywords: Amelia Kirby; Appalachian Media Institute; Cocaine Blues; Crew; Dedication; Educational; High schools; Interns; Internships; Lessons; Media; Mimi Pickering; Panels; Production company; Projects; Responsibility; Rich Kirby; Wilson Pickett

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Communities.; Mentors in the arts; Visual arts

01:08:15 - Appalshop, Inc. and its effect on her work

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Partial Transcript: I'm going to ask you just a few more questions, but what I'd like to do now is just talk about a couple of your projects since coming to New Orleans.

Segment Synopsis: Keber discusses the bigger projects she has become known for since she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and how they relate to her time spent at Appalshop, Inc.

Keywords: "Bayou Maharajah"; African American; Anne Braden; Anne Lewis; Anti-racist; Articles; Blogs; Buck Jumping; Community boards; Connections; Contacts; Discussions; English; Feminism; Genius; Hazel Dickens; Images; Immigrant detention facility; Issues; James Booker; Junky; Matt Gossage; Media; Mental health issues; Mimi Pickering; Political activism; Prisons; Research; Social activism; Social justice; Spanish; Thousand Kites Project; Tools

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Austin (Tex.); Communities.; Community media; Documentary films.; Film.; Labels; Motion pictures--Social aspects.; New Orleans (La.); Visual arts