Tennessee Woman

To me, this Tennessee woman exemplified the spirit of hard work and determination that built a country out of wilderness. When I photographed her in the hills and hollows near Great Smoky Mountain National Park in 1973, she was in her late eighties and still going strong. In this picture, she’s neatening her yard. She had just received a load of coal for heating her home and she was sweeping stray chunks back into the pile. She lived with her family and had several grandchildren that could have performed this chore, but chose to do it herself to remain active. She was most likely born within 20 years of the end of the Civil War. Some people in Tennessee still called that the War of Northern Aggression at the time.

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