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Finding Affrilachia

Valeria Watson

The Appalachian region is an expansive stretch of hundreds of thousands of miles from the mountains of New York to Mississippi. It is home to more than 25 million people who celebrate diverse cultural traditions, yet its stereotype as a region filled with poor, white farmers still looms large. In the 90s, writer Frank X Walker coined the term “Affrilachia,” to chip away at those stereotypes and render visible the life and work of a more diverse array of residents.

Marie Cochran is one of the pioneers of Affrilachian art movement and founding curator of the Affrilachian Artist Project, which was devised to nurture and connect African-American artists from the region. Cochran joins host Frank Stasio to share the stories of some of these artists. They are also joined by Affrilachian jewelry maker Viola Spells, owner and designer of Zenobia Studio, and painter and multimedia artist Valeria Watson. Spells and Cochran will participate in the panel discussion “Crafting Affrilachia,” on Oct. 20 at 12:45 p.m. It is part of the University of North Carolina Asheville’s 5th Annual African-Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference.


Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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