Affrilachians and You

Frank X Walker

In Kentucky, they’ve coined the term Affrilachian. It originated with Frank “X” Walker, a local poet who looked at Appalachian culture and saw African Americans under-represented. Other artists have rallied around him, forming a collective of sorts.

Sometimes their work is contemporary, as illustrated by Crystal Good’s recital of the poem “Dem Boyz” in the clip below. Sometimes it is nostalgic, as in Walker’s poem, “Canning Memories,” which recalls…

Grandmothers who still clicked
their tongues, who called up the sound
of a tractor at daybreak
the perfume of fresh turned earth
and the secret location of the best
blackberry patch
like they were remembering
old lovers

These artists recognize something special about the black experience in our region, but what is it? What makes being black in Appalachia different from being black in say, Atlanta, St. Louis or Denver?

Tell me what you think. Add a comment below.


1 comment

  • Mari

    i never heard the term affrilachian until recently – and i’m not really sure how it makes me feel.

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