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?
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