Greene to present lecture on Harlan’s 200 years

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Members of Harlan Tourism and the Harlan Public Library will be presenting another bicentennial lecture event featuring Dr. James Greene III as its guest speaker. The lecture takes place on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Harlan Center.

Greene said his lecture’s main focus will be about the “Harlan Transformation” period from 1890 through 1920.

“A lot of what I will be talking about is how Harlan County began changing from agriculture to a coal and timber economy,” Greene said. “How it became industrialized. How the railroad impacted it.”

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Greene added he will talk about a number of ways the coal industry changed Harlan County, including population growth, changes in schooling, the way people lived and more.

“I hope a lot of people come out. It will certainly be interesting,” he said.

Greene is a retired high school teacher and instructional supervisor for the Harlan Independent School District for a total of 50 years. He also served on the Kentucky Historical Records Advisory Board and Pine Mountain Settlement School Board of Trustees. Greene has earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin, The Ohio State University and Union College, with a doctorate in history education.

The lecture will last approximately an hour beginning at 6 p.m. in the Harlan Center and is free to those wishing to attend.

For more information on Greene’s lecture, call 606-573-4495.

Greene also wrote an article for the Harlan Enterprise’s 2019 Heritage special section on Harlan County’s 200th birthday.

“What this means is that Harlan County as a political unit and cultural construct is that old; however, the history of modern Harlan County begins with the movement of people of European origin along with, in many instances, the people of African origin whom they held enslaved into southwest Virginia and Kentucky during the second half of the 18th century,” Greene wrote. “As these people moved westward, they imposed lines on the landscape; lines to define their property and lines to define their units of government so that for many years, Harlan County was part of much larger jurisdictions than it is today.”

Greene went on in his writing to tell the twisting history of how Harlan County came to be and its journey over the years, beginning with Fincastle County, Virginia, in 1772, all the way up to present day Harlan.

You can visit the Harlan Enterprise website to read Greene’s full story.