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Gone HomeRace and Roots through Appalachia$
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Karida L. Brown

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469647036

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469647036.001.0001

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A Change Gone Come

A Change Gone Come

(p.131) (p.132) (p.133) 6 A Change Gone Come
Gone Home

Karida L. Brown

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter traces the process of African American children in the tri-city area of Harlan County, Kentucky, becoming, like many others in the country, “children of integration” through the historic Brown v. Board of Education case. Both the inheritance and the risks of desegregation befell everyday black children; they would be the change agents for dismantling the “separate but equal” doctrine upheld by Plessy v. Ferguson. What was that experience like? By tracing the background of the Brown case and using oral history testimony, the chapter draws attention to the hidden injuries, loss of community, and transforming racial epistemologies that accompanied forced school desegregation. When asked to reflect on the perceived costs and benefits of desegregation, participant responses varied by generation and level of abstraction. While acknowledging the benefits, they all expressed some form of injury: a loss of community and African American identity.

Keywords:   Brown v. Board of Education, Plessy v. Ferguson, Harlan County, Kentucky, separate but equal, children of integration, African American identity

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