Appalachian singer/songwriter Hazel Dickens was awarded a $10,000 fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. She was one of 13 recipients of the 2001 National Heritage Fellowships. Dickens, who grew up near Montcalm, WV in a family of 11 children, left the state as a teenager to find work in the factories of Baltimore. She currently resides in Washington, DC.
Music has always been a link to Dickens's cultural roots. Her many song credits include: "West Virginia, My Home." "Working Girl Blues," "Black Lung" and "Don't Put Her Down, You Helped Put Her There." Her music has been featured in such films as Harlan County, USA, Matewan and, most recently, Songcatcher.
In addition to being the subject of an Appalshop documentary, It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song, Dickens has been a participant in the Great Labor Arts Exchange of the Labor Heritage Foundation.