For decades, the voices of African Americans within Appalachia went unacknowledged. Perceptions of the region’s diversity were limited by stereotypes that portrayed Appalachians as mountain dwellers who were primarily white. In response to a long history of exclusion, African American and Appalachian poet Frank X Walker created the term Affrilachian in 1991…
African American voices contribute greatly to Appalachian identity. The excerpt above is from an article I wrote titled, “Naming Affrilachia: Toward Rhetorical Ecologies of Identity Performance in Appalachia.” The article explores the powerful and essential ways that cultural identities are created through language. How do we connect with one another? How are cultures formed? How can a new word inspire inclusion and community?
Read the full journal article in Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture.