Access Type

Online access to this book is restricted to the University of Kentucky community.



Download Full Text (408.3 MB)


The people and places in Appalachia make it a rich, multifaceted, and diverse region. When author Frank X Walker first coined the phrase "Affrilachia," he wanted 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. Illustrated by acclaimed artist upfromsumdirt, every image exudes vibrancy, beauty, and whimsy as it depicts an alphabetized word alongside each corresponding letter. Featured are a range of musicians, artists, and activists, as well as mountain ranges, literary works, and coal mining implements. Famous names, such as playwright August Wilson, writer Nikki Giovanni, actor Chadwick Boseman, and singer Nina Simone are spotlighted, as well as lesser-known individuals, such as artist Romare Bearden and musician Amythyst Kiah. Particularly poignant are the letters representing the four girls—Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley—who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Equipped with a glossary to engage discussion regarding the importance of the individuals and places represented, this children's book is a unique and engaging ABC primer that offers a rich display of regional, racial, and cultural heritage through word and image. 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. Upfromsumdirt is an award-winning artist who has galleried in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee and participated in curator Tewodross Melchishua's traveling art exhibit entitled M3: MCs, Mics and Metaphors. His work has also been featured on the covers of African American Review and Tidal Basin Review, and he has created book cover designs for a number of authors, including Crystal E. Wilkinson, Dr. Adam J. Banks, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Keith Gilyard, and for his own chapbook collections, Caul & Response and Tangerine Tubman: A Long-Playing Poem. upfromsumdirt's art or poetry has been featured online at Connotation Press, About Place Journal,New Southerner, Accents radio program, and Nat Creole Magazine. "Walker does much more here than pay tribute to Affrilachia. He celebrates the people, places, and ideas that inhabit it, and at the same time he indicts the forces of white supremacy that have tried to destroy it."—Chapter 16

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






race; diversity; early readers; black history; picture book; activism; regional heritage; african american culture; civil rights; poetry; music; education; mountaintop removal; arts; children's dictionary


African American Studies | Appalachian Studies

A Is for Affrilachia
Read Sample Off-campus Download for UK only

Consortium members may access while on their campus.