New podcast challenges what you think you know about Black communities in Appalachia.
Dr. Enkeshi El-Amin, a researcher, lecturer and cultural worker at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and William Isom, director of the Black in Appalachia project at East Tennessee PBS, were searching for a project to collaborate on that would help share their passion and research on the Black Appalachian experience.
In 2019 the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) began accepting applications for podcast pitches. Isom and podcast producer Chris Smith approached El-Amin about pitching a podcast about Blacks living in Appalachia. The group’s demo was selected, giving the team access to training and funding that led to the launch of the podcast.
The Black in Appalachia podcast, which El-Amin co-hosts with journalist and literary activist Angela Dennis, narrates the Black experience in Appalachia and the long history of Black communities in the region—narratives that they say are often overlooked or ignored in mainstream (read white run) media.
Through historical and contemporary stories of people, places, and experiences, El-Amin and Dennis interrogate what it means to be Black in Appalachia, creating space where under-told stories can be heard and Black identity can be reclaimed.
Black in Appalachia’s website, blackinappalachia.org, also features documentary films, oral histories, and community forums. The site hosts a Community History Digital Archive, a public, searchable archive of digital materials related to African American history in East Tennessee. The items in the archive are sourced from a mix of local institutions and community members who have generously lent digital copies of their resources. Take a look at their Presentations & Interviews which includes videos and articles on race in Appalachia.
Listen to the Black in Appalachia podcast at www.blackinappalachia.org/podcast.