This compelling and captivating book is based on the often overlooked but crucial insight that the African-American Great Migration [from South to North] of 1910-1970 frequently happened in steps and stages, rather than in one fell swoop. That’s where the key preposition in the title of this book comes from – through - Appalachia. Karida Leigh Brown’s own family experienced this. Her grandparents migrated – or, as Brown corrects, escaped - from Alabama to Harlan County, Kentucky. Her parents, born in Kentucky, migrated from Harlan County on to Long Island. She and her brother, born in Kentucky, were raised in New York state. Clearly this book is a kind of corrective and deeper dive into the Great Migration, a matter of great national interest and concern. It is also a key corrective and deeper dive into Appalachian Studies as it highlights Black Appalachia. And it is an innovative inter-disciplinary exploration of the boundaries between the field of sociology – she is an Associate Professor of Sociology at UCLA - and oral history, a field which may well recognize this book as a paragon. “Gone Home is a migrating portrait of black families who moved from Alabama plantations to Kentucky coalfields, and from there to cities across the nation. Displaced by industrial decline, these families were forced to redefine the meaning of home and homemaking. Karida Brown eloquently follows the twentieth-century Great Migration and shows how it transformed African American identity and culture. Her beautiful book offers a deep understanding of both the American South and our nation."—William Ferris. “In this wondrous and careful work of essential and classic southern sociology, Karida Leigh Brown brilliantly illuminates black subjectivities as lived, realized, and constituted in the overlooked ancestral African American homeland of Appalachian coal country. Traversing time and space, race and region, Gone Home tells about the South in ways heretofore unimaginable."—Zandria Robinson. “With magnificent prose Gone Home is a powerful sociological and racial analysis of the lives and experiences of black people in and across Kentucky and Appalachia. Karida Brown has gifted us with a book that is a must read within and beyond the academy."—Marcus Anthony Hunter.
Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2018. 252 pages with an Index, Bibliography, Notes, Appendices, Tables and Figures, including photos. Hardback with dust jacket