WEST VIRGINIA (CelebrityAccess) – A bridge in West Virginia has been renamed in honor of late bluegrass legend Hazel Dickens.
The locally known Montcalm Bridge, carrying County Route 11 over the Bluestone River in Mercer County, was revealed as the ‘Hazel Dickens Memorial Bridge’ during a dedication ceremony over the weekend.
Dickens, an internationally renowned singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, was known for her representation of the plight of miners and families of southern West Virginia. In addition to appearing on dozens of recordings over the course of her 50 plus year career, Dickens, who The New York Times once referred to as “a clarion-voiced advocate for coal miners and working people and a pioneer among women in bluegrass music,” also made appearances in the films Matewan, Harlan County USA, Songcatcher, and a movie of her life, Hazel Dickens: It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song.
In 1994, Dickens received the Merit Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association, making her the first woman to do so. Later, in 2001, she was presented with a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States’ highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
Dickens passed away in 2011 at the age of 85.