Frank X Walker (Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths)

Ferrum College will host Frank X Walker and a group of other Affrilachian poets for a poetry reading on Thurs., March 16, 2017, at 7 p.m. in the Panthers Den in Franklin Hall on campus. Joining Walker are poets Dorian Hairston, Asha French, Bernard Clay, and Yvonne Johnson. The event is free and open to the public.

Walker, Kentucky’s Poet Laureate from 2013-2015, coined the term Affrilachia to counter the stereotype that Appalachia is a monochromatic region. An educator, artist, author, activist, and acclaimed “renaissance man,” Walker was honored with a 2014 NAACP Image Award for his book of poetry, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers. His earlier works, Affrilachia and Black Box, have been required reading for sociology students at Ferrum College for the past 16 years.

“The Affrilachian Poets are known for addressing issues unique to the Appalachia region, and powerfully illuminating the complexities of African American history and experiences; yet, their poetry also offers up universal themes which resonate with readers and audience members of all backgrounds,” said Ferrum College Assistant Professor of Sociology Susan Mead, one of the event organizers.

The day before they read at the College, the five Affrilachian poets will appear on Mill Mountain Theatre’s Waldron Stage, located at 20 Church Avenue SE in Roanoke, for an event on Wednesday, March 15, beginning at 6 p.m. that is also free and open to the public. Both event are made possible through partnerships with the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Mill Mountain Theatre’s Waldron Stage, and Diversity Serves, along with sponsorships from Ferrum College’s Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, the Integrated Programming Board, the Boone Honors Program, and the Social Work and Sociology and English Programs.

For additional information about the upcoming events, contact Dr. Mead at For more information about the Affrilachian Poets, visit

Photo of Frank X Walker by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.