Appalachians Lean Into Traditions To Weather The Pandemic


On this West Virginia Morning, the front porch is a traditional gathering place for Appalachian families, and in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, one reporter shares how those practices have become even more important. We also hear a report about the increased risk for coal miners due to COVID-19, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

As our nation grapples with outbreaks of COVID-19 in meatpacking plants, prisons and nursing homes, another industry is bracing for a possible outbreak: the coal mining industry. Sydney Boles reports, the risk is heightened because of epidemic-levels of lung disease among Appalachian miners.

The front porch is well-known across much of Appalachia as a gathering place for conversation and sharing. During this socially distant time of the coronavirus, Appalachia’s front porches have become, for some, a lifeline and in more ways than one. As 100 Days in Appalachia reporter Alison Stine found, the idea of the front porch as a network is being used to help keep students and families fed and connected. She spoke with reporter Brittany Patterson. We bring you an excerpt from their conversation.

At a 2011 Mountain Stage show in Bristol, highly regarded vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Vince Gill performed perhaps his most recognizable song, in what host Larry Groce calls one of the best sets ever performed on Mountain Stage. Here’s Gill with our Song of the Week, “Go Rest High On That Mountain.”

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Our Appalachia Health News project is made possible with support from CAMC and Marshall Health.

West Virginia Morning is produced with help from Caitlin Tan, Jessica Lilly, Kara Lofton, Liz McCormick, Dave Mistich, Eric Douglas, Corey Knollinger, Emily Allen, and Roxy Todd.

Brittany Patterson produces our show. Our news director is Glynis Board. Our host is Teresa Wills.

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