Black History Month

Joel Beeson
West Virginia University Reed College of Media

  A West Virginia University professor who has been researching the experience of black soldiers in World War I will speak to Congress about the time period's similarities to the nation's current racial climate.

Associate Professor Joel Beeson of the Reed College of Media has spent the past decade researching the topic. He is one of three professors invited to the special briefing on Thursday in honor of Black History Month.

Ron Pennington playing quarterback for the Charleston Rockets.
Courtesy of Ron Pennington

Long before Doug Williams and those who followed blazed their paths as black quarterbacks in the National Football League, another African America play-caller graced Lailey Field in Charleston, West Virginia.

Ron Pennington played for the Charleston Rockets during the 1960s. He spoke with Us & Them podcast producer Trey Kay about his time in the Mountain State.

At 5-foot-nine and 155 lbs, Pennington used his strong arm and scrambling ability to carve out success on the field.

Some land in Wise Virginia has gone from producing coal, to producing grapes.

West Virginians debate whether frack waste should be dumped in local landfills.

Two long forgotten African American poets are recognized.

And we learn more about jazz pianist Bob Thompson.

A.J. Lawson / WVU School of Journalism

The nation’s first and only building memorializing African American veterans of WWI is located in Kimball, W.Va. and Thursday evening a celebration of Black History Month will take place there that highlights the work of two previously unrecognized poets from the era.

The two poets were sisters from Beckley who at age 17 and 18 attended the West Virginia Colored Institute, which is now West Virginia State College. An 83 page hard back book featuring their poetry was published in 1919.

Discovering the Book

Courtesy of Scott Campbell / WNET

American Masters--Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth  premieres Friday, February 7 at 9 p.m. on West Virginia PBS in honor of Alice Walker's 70th birthday and Black History Month

Courtesy of AP.

In celebration of Black History Month, West Virginia Public Broadcasting presents a wide selection of television and radio program premieres and encores.  (A complete list of our 2014 Black History Month programs is made available here.

On West Virginia PBS: