“Three Women” to Discuss being African-American and Growing up in Appalachia

Three Berea Women—Monica Jones, Dr. Alicestyne Turley, and Crystal Wilkinson—will be the featured speakers at the Berea College Appalachian Lecture on Thursday Apr. 5 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. This roundtable discussion will focus on what it was like being African American and growing up in Appalachia.

Jones currently serves as the director of the Black Cultural Center in the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education. A Zanesville, Ohio native and graduate from Ohio State University, Jones is no stranger to being the only African American in a room. She has used it as a way to stand out and excel in everything she sets her mind to.

Turley, a noted author and scholar from Powell County, Ky., is the director of the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education. Since 2012, she has served Berea College as an associate professor of African and African-American Studies. Turley earned a BA in Anthropology/Sociology from Georgetown University, where she graduated with honors, and an MPA in Public Policy Administration from Mississippi State University. She earned an MA and Ph. D. in History from the University of Kentucky.

Wilkinson, an award winning author, has been the Appalachian Writer-In-Residence at Berea College since 2014. A Kentucky native raised in Casey County, Wilkinson emanates what is means to be an African-American woman who celebrates her Appalachian roots. She is noted for her ability to inspire and teach writers about the Appalachian area. Wilkinson has won numerous awards for her non-fiction novels and her poetry. Her book, The Birds of Opulence, won the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award in Literary Excellence.

The roundtable discussion at this convocation will be bring light to what it is like to be an African American, Appalachian woman. This group of accomplished women will discuss barriers they faced and how they were able to push through and embrace all sides of their culture.

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