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Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia by Karida L. Brown

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Great to have a paperback edition of this book, confirming not only its significance in the field of sociology, but also its appeal to general readers, reinforced by the fact that it was recognized by six book awards! Three words in the sub-title are crucial. “Race” tips you off that this is a book about African Americans. “Roots” confirms the focus on individuals coming to grips with where their people are from. Arguably the most important word is “through.” Based on 150 interviews with Black people who moved away from Lynch and Benham, coal towns in Harlan County, Kentucky, his book illuminates the mostly previously ignored fact that the Great Migration was not just South to North, but often South to Appalachia, and then on to the North. “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. “Brown is an engaging writer . . . This book provides insight into the interconnected issues of identity formation, social and geographic mobility, and the concept of homeplace, along with the effects of quality education and the movement of civil rights.” -- Journal of Appalachian Studies. “In Gone Home, Brown fills the pages with stories of people who lived in Benham and Lynch; she uses many of their own words to express their lived experiences. In combining historical and sociological methodologies, Brown successfully shows that although physical elements of these Black communities in Appalachia have largely disappeared, the communities themselves still thrive in migrants' memories and their continued connections with one another.” -- Journal of African American History. Karida Brown has a Masters from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from Brown University, teaches at UCLA, and serves as the Director of Racial Equity and Action for the Los Angeles Lakers.  On August 18th Fisk University announced that Dr. Brown has accepted a one-year appointment to be the inaugural Diane Nash Descendants of the Emancipation Chair at its John Lewis Center for Social Justice.

Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, a 2021 paperback re-print of a 2018 release. 252 pages with an Index, Bibliography, Notes, appendices, figures, tables, photos, and a map. Trade paperback.