How would you feel if you learned that you didn't exist? Ask Frank X. Walker. In 1991, he looked up the definition of Appalachian in Webster's Dictionary and discovered this definition referring to the inhabitants: "white residents from the mountains.” So Mr. Walker, a black man from Danville, KY, did not exist, according to definition.
What would you do? Mr. Walker and his fellow poets decided to create another word to describe them: Affrilachian. Not only was this a word but a movement. And it wasn't just African, or Appalachian. Affrilachian have a keen sense of the world around them. When you read an Affrilachian poem, you might read about social justice (or the lack therof), men, women, mountains, India, Cuba, you name it. What ties them together is their supportive community and their way with words.
If you're in the Charleton/Huntington area, stop on by to see them. Affrilachian poets should be heard if possible. If you can't, head on over to The Affrilachian Poets site.
Here's a teaser from Parneshia Jones, dedicated to the founding Affrilachians:
Anyone that walks these bluegrass lands
know the stories.
They know when thunder shakes the hills,
Affrilachians are writing."
Read the rest here.