Appalshop News

We mourn the passing of Appalshop's longtime friend, Eula Hall

1 year ago

Appalshop shares the sorrow of so many throughout Appalachia over the passing of our longtime friend Eula Hall, founder of Mud Creek Clinic.

Eula was a pioneer in rural healthcare and a true leader in the work for justice in Eastern Kentucky.

Her commitment to working people ran deep. At 15 years old, Eula was charged with inciting a labor riot when she demanded better conditions at the canning company where she worked.

She went on to fight for a school lunch program in Floyd County, picketed with the UMWA in Harlan County, and served as president of the Kentucky Black Lung Association. She was never afraid to tell the mightiest politician in Frankfort or Washington D.C. just what Eastern Kentuckians needed — and she expected them to deliver.

“I don’t know any better way to spend my time than to make sure some sick person gets healthcare,” she told Appalshop’s Anne Lewis in our 1986 film Mud Creek Clinic. “All my life I thought, ‘This is ridiculous that people, good people, the best people on earth has to suffer and die for lack of money.’”

Patients came from Tennessee, West Virginia, and even Ohio to visit the clinic she founded in 1973. When arson destroyed the clinic’s original building in 1982, Eula treated the morning patients at a picnic table under a willow tree — then had the telephone company wire the tree with a telephone so patients could keep scheduling appointments.

Eula’s awards are too many to name. She was a lifelong mentor to each generation here in Eastern Kentucky, and an eternal inspiration to the young filmmakers who started Appalshop in 1969 as part of the fight for equity in our region.

It would be impossible to tally all those who considered Eula a friend, or the many who benefited from her critical work.

We will miss her enormously.

Rest in power, Eula.

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