Books for changing the world
Beginning Again
Stories of Movement and Migration in Appalachia

Appalachia has been a place of movement and migration—for individuals, families, and entire communities—for centuries.

Beginning Again
brings together twelve narratives of refugees, migrants, and generations-long residents that explore complex journeys of resettlement. In their stories, Appalachia—despite how it’s popularly portrayed—is not simply a region of poverty and strife populated only by white people. It is a diverse place where belonging and connection are created despite displacement, resource extraction, and inequality. 

Among the narratives included:  
Hear from Claudine Katete, a Rwandan asylum seeker raised in refugee camps who graduated college into the chaos of COVID-19. Follow Amal as she and her family fled war-ravaged Syria and navigated mice-infested housing and unresponsive case workers. Listen to Mekyah Davis, born and raised in Big Stone Gap, as he describes the “slow burn” of everyday racism and his efforts to organize Black Appalachian youth to stay in their communities. Taken together, their stories and more collected here present a nuanced look at life in contemporary Appalachia.

  • “These poignant narratives reveal a stunning, multidimensional Appalachia.” —Appalshop

    "Anyone with an interest in contemporary Appalachia will find this book essential reading. It may be equally essential for people who are students of oral history and oral narrative. Ultimately, Beginning Again: Stories of Movement and Migration in Appalachia offers us a powerful view of contemporary migration amid the turmoil of our times, and it locates these narratives in the Appalachia of today." The Urban Appalachian Community Coalition

    “An invitation to those here and beyond to expand our conceptions of who exists, who belongs, and who builds a loving home within these mountains.” —Rae Garringer, author and editor of
    Country Queers: A Love Letter

    “The stories … ask us to reckon with the inequalities in our region, but also to hold hope that our communities will provide when political and economic systems fail.” Lesly-Marie Buer, author of Rx Appalachia

    “… a brilliant kaleidoscope of stories about migration, deprivation, and transformative human connection.” Barbara Ellen Smith, author of Digging Our Own Graves

    "In offering this compelling multi-vocal narrative of Appalachian migration and resettlement, Beginning Again emerges as a model of cooperation and reflection in contemporary scholarship.  This identity-centered work expands our view of Appalachia and the complex layers of place, being, and survival."  —Elizabeth Catte

Other books of interest