Buffalo Dance! and A is for Affrilachia
This lecture has been cancelled due to illness. Sorry for any inconvenience.
The people and places in Appalachia make it a rich, multifaceted, and diverse region. Author, artist, and poet Frank X Walker, voted one of the most creative professors in the south, coined the term “Affrilachia” to ensure that the voices, and accomplishments of African Americans in that region were recognized and exalted. A is for Affrilachia not only brings awareness of notable African Americans from this region, but this inspired children’s alphabet book is also an exuberant celebration of the people, physical spaces, and historical events that may not be as well known in mainstream educational structures.
When Walker’s compelling collection of personal poems was first released in 2004, it told the story of the infamous Lewis and Clark expedition from the point of view of York, who was enslaved to Clark and became the first African American man to traverse the continent. In the expanded edition of Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, Walker utilizes extensive historical research, interviews, transcribed oral histories from the Nez Perce Reservation, art, and empathy to breathe new life into an important but overlooked historical figure. Featuring a new historical essay, preface, and sixteen additional poems, this powerful work speaks to such themes as racism, the power of literacy, the inhumanity of slavery, and the crimes against Native Americans, while reawakening and reclaiming the lost “voice” of York.
Frank X Walker, the first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate, is an artist, writer, and educator who has published eleven collections of poetry, including Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, Expanded Edition; Masked Man, Black: Pandemic & Protest Poems; and Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which was awarded an NAACP Image Award and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award. The recipient of the thirty-fifth Lillian Smith Book Award and the Thomas D. Clark Award for Literary Excellence, he is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.