The closing of local mines and factories collapsed the economic and social structure of Ivanhoe, Virginia, a small, rural town once considered a dying community "on the rough side of the mountain." Documenting the creative survival techniques developed by Ivanhoe citizens in the aftermath, It Comes from the People tells how this community organized to revitalize the town and demand participation in its future.
Photos, interviews, stories, songs, poems, and scenes from a local theater production tell how this process of rebuilding gradually uncovered the community's own local theology and a growing consciousness of cultural and religious values. A significant aspect of this social transformation in Ivanhoe, as in many rural areas, was the emergence of women as leaders, educators, and organizers, developing new approaches to revive the economy and the people simultaneously.
This book is unusually open about the difficult process faced by outside researchers working with community members to describe community life. It discusses the inherent dilemmas frankly and presents a model for those who engage in community studies and ethnographic research.