One of the highlights of the Appalachian Studies Association Conference was the keynote speech given by Silas House. Silas is a national best selling writer, activist and professor at Berea College. His speech entitled, Our Secret Places in the Waiting World: Becoming a New Appalachia, was a truly uplifting and motivating speech. It focused on issues of race and homophobia in the region, though it did not place Appalachia in a vacuum, reminding many that the region is a mirror of the country’s societal ills. For many in attendance, it was the best keynote every given at the conference. I’ve included the video above. The only diminishing aspect is that the video does not include the images and texts projected on screen during the speech. Regardless, it is a truly wonderful address and well worth an hour of your time. If you are a person on the go, fast forward to the 52 minute mark, this will give you a powerful summation of the entire address. Enjoy.