Community of place

By     Aug 11, 2016
When I think about what community means to me, I return to the definition set forth by the organization Alternate ROOTS.
ROOTS defines community as communities of place, tradition, and spirit.

The root of this definition for me is community of place, because it is in these specific geographical areas that our traditions are created. It is in these places that one encounters the spirit of the community, that intangible thing that makes them unique. I recently moved away from my home town of Knoxville, Tennessee to New York City for graduate school, and living in NYC showed me just how much my hometown has shaped my Affrilachian* identity and ways of being. Moving away made me appreciate my community of place. What follows is a haiku poem about my community of place, Knoxville, Tennessee that is nestled at the foot of the mighty Appalachian Mountains.


Peaks that stretch sky high

Great Appalachian Mountains

Affrilachian strength


Oh Sunday dinners

Food that nourishes us all

Sustains body, soul


We made one fabric

With my little bit and yours

Sustains everyone


Music from the folk

Sustains spirit in the hard times

Sing our melody


We created ways

When they told us we had none

Spirit moves through us


Affrilachian strength

Our story won’t be silenced

Like those peaks, we rise



*Affrilachia is a term coined by Frank X Walker to denote Appalachians of African descent and their culture and history that often times gets silenced due to the dominance of the white Appalachian narrative.