Arts & Culture

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear an update from Gov. Jim Justice who is warning of mandating face masks in public. Also, in this show, we hear how colleges and universities in the state are reacting to financial challenges brought on by COVID-19; we hear the latest on the unprecedented numbers of unemployment claims in the region; we hear about a federal spending bill that may help improve infrastructure in coal-reliant communities, and we hear this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Kyle Vass/ WVPB

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of worship for people of different faiths, including religious holidays. During Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, fasting and communal meals in the evenings normally mark many of the tradition. 

This year, things were different, as Muslims across the globe were unable to meet in person with their friends and family.


WV State Archives

The recent killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement, sparking protests across this country, including in several cities in W.Va. It has launched candid conversations about long held institutionalized and systemic racism and brought forth stories of individuals that are vital to understanding injustice in our country.

For this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking another listen to an episode we originally produced earlier this year. We focus on one chapter in the history of the Black community of Charleston, West Virginia.

On this West Virginia Morning, we learn about a family-owned Black newspaper in Virginia that just celebrated its 80th anniversary. The publisher, Claudia Whitworth, is rejecting the idea that people only want to hear negative stories. Also, in this show, we hear an excerpt from the latest episode of Us & Them exploring whether the topic of abortion has become too heavily divided to discuss differences civilly.

Oakley Fugate

The courtroom was silent as 19-year-old Dayjha Hogg approached the lectern at a Letcher County fiscal court meeting, stared down a panel of county magistrates, and spoke.

“I know COVID’s going around right now, so just imagine, there’s no COVID, normal society, and imagine you walk around and it’s like you have the plague.” 


Ben McManus

As part of our Inside Appalachia folkways project, we have been exploring Appalachia’s unique connection to Wales. Both regions mountainous landscapes, a history of coal extraction, folktales and it turns out, music. 

There is a growing community of musicians from both Wales and Appalachia who share an interest in the culture that binds them together.


Michael Gallimore

The West Virginia Dance Company, based out of Beckley, West Virginia, often performs dances that tell stories about social or cultural topics in the Appalachian region. One of their recent performance pieces, “Catching Light,” choreographed by Toneta Akers-Toler, was inspired by West Virginia glassmaker Ron Hinkle. In a special report exploring folkways traditions, as part of the Inside Appalachia Folkways Project, Jordan Lovejoy profiled the choreographer and her work. 


Mason Adams / For Inside Appalachia

Culture can connect us to our kindred spirits across great distances, even during a global pandemic. It helps build bridges in other ways, too. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear stories about cultural ties that bind us to people across the globe.

Leslie Terry (center) and the rest of the Roanoke Tribune team prepare the week’s newspapers to be mailed to readers.
Mason Adams / For Inside Appalachia

The Roanoke Tribune has been telling its Black readers their lives matter for more than 80 years. 

While many newspapers have struggled to adapt to the internet, laying off reporters and editors while shrinking their coverage, the family-owned Roanoke Tribune has persisted through four generations and the destruction of their building during urban renewal.


On this West Virginia Morning, while some statues of confederate generals have been toppled or ordered down in some cities and towns, the debate carries on in other places. We hear about one man’s mission to bring down a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Murray, Kentucky. Also, we hear about Appalachia’s connection to Wales through music, and we listen to this week’s Mountain Stage song of the week.

On this West Virginia Morning, we have stories about an award-winning fiddler, a special kind of fungi housed at West Virginia University, and we hear from a Kentucky voter who previously had her voting rights taken away due to a felony charge.

Emily Hilliard / West Virginia Folklife Program

An old-time musician from Clay County has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts’ fellowship -- the first West Virginian in 20 years to receive the honor.

John Morris has been named one of nine NEA National Heritage Fellows. According to a press release, it is the highest honor in the United States for folk and traditional arts. 

Courtesy photo

This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity. 

Stories of snake handlers, moonshining and the isolated mountains of West Virginia have been around for years, but “Shiner,” a new novel by author Amy Jo Burns, looks at them from the perspective of a 15-year-old girl caught in the middle. 

Eric Douglas spoke with Burns to discuss the newly released book. 

Douglas: The book is set in modern day, but there are pieces of it that feel like they could have been told 100 years ago. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we’re still celebrating Father’s Day. We hear from some new dads who became fathers during the coronavirus pandemic. Also, we meet Tina Russell, the first Black woman in West Virginia’s history to win a democratic primary in Mercer County.

As statues of Confederate generals have been toppled or ordered down across the American South, all still stand in West Virginia, the only state born out of the American Civil War.

One hundred fifty-seven years ago Saturday, West Virginia seceded from Virginia to join the Union and reject the Confederacy.

Photo by Kara Leigh Creative

In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is dedicated to dads. 

A man’s brain is rewired when he holds his newborn baby just after birth. Scientists have found that after holding his infant in his arms for 30 minutes, a dad’s brain gets flooded with dopamine and oxytocin, which is sometimes referred to as “the love hormone.” In just a few moments, his brain chemistry is changed forever. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we conclude our week of youth-themed coverage with a father who shares the memory of meeting his daughter just after she was born. Also, we hear another winning student writer – this time from kindergarten. We also have a discussion on how the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected black Americans, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

On this West Virginia Morning, we continue hearing from and about kids. In this show, we highlight the conversation black families have with their teenagers about the police, and we share a special note from a mom to her kids about injustice and oppression. Also, we hear from a career school graduate in Fayette County who explores the reputation of career and trade schools as higher education institutions.  

On this West Virginia Morning, we continue to hear from and about the youth in our region. In this show, we hear the perspective of a young farmer, and we also hear from one of our first place winners in this year’s West Virginia Public Broadcasting Writers Contest.

On this West Virginia Morning, we share a youth report on an athlete’s perseverance. We also hear about what high schools in West Virginia are doing about graduation ceremonies, and we check in with communities cleaning up after flooding this weekend.

On this West Virginia Morning, all this week we’ll be hearing from and about some of West Virginia’s younger residents. We hear a youth essay from Charleston where one young black West Virginian shares his vision for the future, and we also hear from young people in the Ohio Valley region.

YouTube

When John Prine died on April 7 due to complications from COVID-19, he didn't just leave behind a rich recorded legacy.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Protests against police killing unarmed black Americans continue across the country, including here in Appalachia. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks protesting the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among others. These protesters seek an end to police brutality and many point to our nation’s long history with systemic racism. 

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll listen to stories about the protests and hear the voices of Appalachians who have dealt with discrimination based on the color of their skin. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian String Band Music Festival, held each year in southern West Virginia, has been canceled this year because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. 

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History made the announcement today.


Musical Director for the Philip Glass Ensemble, Michael Riesman.
Michael Riesman

"Philip likes the fact that music doesn't just exist on paper now and that these early pieces can be realized in different ways." ~Michael Riesman

Philip Glass' Music For Eight Parts journey from missing or lost, to the current recording, feels like an elaborate plot by a master novelist. 

Michael Riesman, Musical Director for the Philip Glass Ensemble, tells the story.

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear about a long-lost piece of music written half a century ago by Phillip Glass. We also hear an excerpt from the latest episode of Us & Them about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the country’s food supply.

On this West Virginia Morning, we bring you the latest on West Virginia’s primary election. We also hear a report on protests against racism and police brutality in the Ohio Valley region, and we look at an investigation into a public water utility that serves Fayette County.

Courtesy photo

This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity. 

Stories of snake handlers, moonshining and the isolated mountains of West Virginia have been around for years, but “Shiners,” a new novel by author Amy Jo Burns, looks at them from the perspective of a 15-year-old girl caught in the middle. 

Eric Douglas spoke with Burns to discuss the newly released book. 

Douglas: The book is set in modern day, but there are pieces of it that feel like they could have been told 100 years ago. 

On this West Virginia Morning, it’s primary election day in West Virginia. The election was postponed due to the coronavirus. In this show, we answer questions you may have if you’re heading out to the polls. Also, we speak with author Amy Jo Burns about her new novel “Shiners.”

On this West Virginia Morning, protests against police brutality and racism continue across West Virginia; we bring you reports from Charleston and Bluefield this weekend. We also bring you a report about an online action group called Black Birder’s Week, and we hear from black faith leaders from across West Virginia who attended a virtual listening session with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

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