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State’s ethnic communities are focus of Goldenseal report


West Virginia’s ethnic diversity is the topic of an updated report recently issued by Goldenseal magazine and the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. The 94-page report titled “An Introduction To West Virginia Ethnic Communities” details 54 distinct ethnic communities active in the state, ranging from Serbians, Irish and Finns in the northern panhandle to African Americans, Spaniards and Jews in the southern coalfields. Each community is described in terms of its size, history and ethnic activities, and includes a list of recommended contact names, addresses and phone numbers.

The report was first created in 1999 with grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. Goldenseal magazine, the state’s quarterly journal of traditional life, contracted with the nationally recognized Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College in Elkins to conduct the initial research. In 2005, Goldenseal editor John Lilly determined the report needed to be revised and updated, a project the magazine staff recently completed.

“An Introduction To West Virginia Ethnic Communities” divides the state’s ethnic communities into eight geographic regions and includes detailed maps. In addition to local descriptions, it features separate profiles of the statewide African American, Jewish and Native American communities. The report defines its subject to be African American, Native American, Jewish and immigrant populations, and their immediate descendants.

The entire report can be viewed on the Division’s website at Copies of the report are available for $7 each, plus shipping, from Goldenseal, The Cultural Center, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305; phone (304) 558-0220, ext. 153. The report also can be purchased online at online store.

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Ginny Painter
Deputy Commissioner/Communications Manager
West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV  25305
Phone (304) 558-0220, ext. 120
Fax (304) 558-2779
Email [email protected]