'Junaluska' edited by Susan E. Keefe

Academic Year: 
Junaluska: Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community
Junaluska cover

The Common Reading Program at Appalachian State is excited to announce the 2022-23 book selection: Junaluska: Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community. The book was published in 2020 as part of the ongoing Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies series.

According to McFarland, the book’s publisher, Junaluska is “one of the oldest African American communities in western North Carolina and one of the few surviving today.” The book is not only a history of the “village within a village” but also a vibrant example of participatory research. It is a record of and testament to family and faith; heritage and community; and persistence and resilience.

Dr. Don Presnell, Director of the Common Reading Program, says that the book’s selection is one of “sesquicentennial serendipity”: “It wasn’t until after we made the selection last year that we realized the upcoming 150th anniversary of Boone. This is truly a book that can bring together students and community members.”

As with the previous year’s selection—Nora Krug’s Belonging—the stories and themes of Junaluska will be especially meaningful for first-year students, whose transition to college will begin a new chapter in their own personal and educational experiences.

Each academic year, the Common Reading Program committee selects a book that will promote and guide intellectual, interdisciplinary interactions and discussions between all incoming first-year and transfer students, who receive a copy of the book during their Orientation sessions. Further, we encourage and collaborate with faculty across the University to integrate the book into their curricula and disciplines so that all App State students can participate in and share common reading and intellectual experiences.

The year-long Common Reading experience will include a variety of Junaluska-related activities, speakers, and events beginning in mid-September. Details will be made available as events are finalized.

The Common Reading Program is a unit within Appalachian’s University College, which consists of the University’s integrated general education curriculum, academic support services, residential learning communities, and co-curricular programming – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside of the classroom.