Books for changing the world

June 20, 2024 at 5.00pm – 6.30pm


Stories of Movement and Migration in Appalachia: Book Launch

Join us for an online discussion of Beginning Again: Stories of Movement and Migration in Appalachia, a new book out from Voice of Witness and Haymarket Books.



Join us for an online discussion of Beginning Again: Stories of Movement and Migration in Appalachia, a new book out from Voice of Witness and Haymarket Books.

Appalachia has been a place of movement and migration—for individuals, families, and entire communities—for centuries. This book brings together oral histories of refugees, migrants, and generations-long residents that explore complex journeys of resettlement. In their stories, Appalachia is not simply a monolithic region of poverty and strife, but rather a diverse place where belonging and connection are created despite displacement, resource extraction, and inequality.

Taken together, the narratives present a nuanced look at life in contemporary Appalachia, expand our ideas of who belongs, and add to the growing body of works that counter damaging myths of the region.


“In a region historically marred by displacement and stereotypes, these poignant first-person narratives reveal a stunning, multidimensional Appalachia, a chosen home that illustrates the power of belonging.” —Appalshop

This book is bringing the voices, which is to say the heart, of the great people who have chosen Appalachia as our home.” —Nikki Giovanni, from the foreword

Beginning Again broadens the understanding of who is Appalachian and reveals how many seek safety in a place that is often portrayed as toxic…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

***Register through Ticket Tailor to receive a link to the live-streamed video on the day of the event. This event will also be recorded and captioning will be provided.***


Katrina Powell is a professor of rhetoric and writing at Virginia Tech and the founding director of the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies.

Babikir is a narrator in Beginning Again and a curriculum advisor for the project. He is a business student at the University of Virginia and a School Liaison working for a nonprofit resettlement agency, Commonwealth Catholic Charities. Babikir fled Sudan with his mother and siblings and lived at a refugee camp in Chad, working as an educator, before resettling in the US.

Mekyah Davis is a narrator in Beginning Again and the co-coordinator of Black Appalachian Young & Rising (BAYR), an initiative of the STAY Project, a grassroots network of young people working to make Appalachian communities places they can and want to stay. His family goes back eight generations in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

Dao X. Tran is the editorial director at Voice of Witness.


This event is sponsored by Haymarket Books and Voice of Witness. While all of our events are freely available, we ask that those who are able make a solidarity donation in support of our important publishing and programming work.

You can also support by purchasing Beginning Again here. Free corresponding lesson plans are available on the Voice of Witness website.