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Celebrating ‘Affrilachian’ excellence

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - According to, "Affrilachia" is a term that was originally coined by Frank X Walker.

As a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and the creator of the word Affrilachia, I believe it is my responsibility to say as loudly and often as possible that people and artists of color are part of the past and present of the multi-state Appalachian region extending from northern Mississippi to southern New York.

Frank X Walker

Here are a few books that highlight Affrilachian culture:

Memphis Tennessee Garrison: The Remarkable Story of a Black Appalachian Woman

The book's description details, "The coalfields of McDowell County were among the richest seams in the nation. As Garrison makes clear, the backbone of the early mining work force—those who laid the railroad tracks, manned the coke ovens, and dug the coal—were black miners."

Blacks in Appalachia

Although southern Appalachia is popularly seen as a purely white enclave, blacks have lived in the region from early times. Some hollows and coal camps are in fact almost exclusively black settlements. The selected readings in this new book offer the first comprehensive presentation of the black experience in Appalachia.


This novel portraying race relations in a remote West Virginia town has been deemed an existential classic according to Amazon.

It would be hard to give Mr. Demby too much praise for the skill with which he has maneuvered the relationships in this book.

The New Yorker

For more Affrilachian reading, check out this book list from Marshall University.

And to learn more about the history of African Americans in Appalachia, visit Black in Appalachia's website here.

Bailey Pace

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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