Harlan County USA

A Gutsy Tribute to the Heroes and Heroines of American Labor: Barbara Kopple’s ‘Harlan County, USA’

Barbara Kopple

Politically active, working-class American women are a clear threat to Yarborough’s natural order and must, therefore, be branded unfeminine and un-American. Women also play a celebrated cultural role in the community. They are a vital part of the musical and political history of the place.

Reality TV’s Antecedents: PBS, ‘POV,’ and Barbara Kopple


A channel that has been delivering a less tempered version of “reality” TV for many decades is PBS, most consistently and interestingly for over 25 years on ‘POV,’ which showcases independent documentaries with limited theatrical runs (and many of those films are available online to watch as well). In its history POV has put its spotlight on trans* and queer people, people of color, and people with disabilities often in work directed by people who are from those communities (which is not usually the case in other “reality” programming).