On this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage, guest host Larry Groce welcomes Wilco back to the show for their fourth appearance since 1996. Also joining us is blues man Guy Davis, alt-folk singer and songwriter Peter Case, and Grammy Nominated songwriter and producer Garrison Starr.Continue Reading Take Me to More News
The Russian invasion in Ukraine is sending shockwaves throughout the world. Did you know that the geography and culture of the people who live in the mountains of southwest Ukraine have a lot in common with Appalachia? Google images of the Carpathian mountains and you’ll see stunning images that look very similar to views in our own backyard.
A group of scholars in Appalachia and in Ukraine noticed these connections, too. They’ve been collaborating for years. This week on Inside Appalachia, we explore the intercultural connections between the two regions.
We’ll also listen back to several stories we originally aired last fall, including one about a park in southwestern Virginia that was created during the Jim Crow-era as one of the only recreation areas in central Appalachia for Black residents. Green Pastures eventually fell into disrepair, but now it’s seeing a makeover as one of Virginia’s newest state parks.
We’ll also hear what happens when a family with roots in Mexico and in Appalachia combines its cultural identities through music, and writer Marie Manilla tells us why she feels drawn to push against stereotypes of her region and her people. And we’ll hear why so many parents are having trouble finding affordable child care, and what West Virginia is doing to end child care deserts.
In This Episode:
- Virginia Restores Historic National Park
- Building Cultural Bridges Through ‘Mexilachian Music’
- Marie Manilla On ‘Urban Appalachia’
- Parents In Child Care Deserts Struggle To Access Child Care
- Finding Affordable Child Care in W.Va. Leaves Some Working Parents Short On Options
- Kindred Lands: Carpathian Ukraine & American Appalachia
Virginia Restores Historic National Park
Green Pastures was designated as an African American recreational area in 1937 at the behest of the NAACP chapter of Clifton Forge, a small Appalachian Virginia town. The goal was to create a U.S. Forest Service outdoor recreation area specifically for Black residents — not just in the Alleghany Highlands but for people in the larger region around it. Green Pastures officially integrated in 1950 and enjoyed a heyday as a destination and gathering place into the 1970s. But the park fell into disrepair, and the United States Forest Service closed its gates by the 2000s. That was until a local history group called What’s Your Story began collecting oral histories about Green Pastures park. The memories turned into action, and in October 2021, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the park will reopen and be run as part of the Virginia state park system. West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter and Inside Appalachia co-host Mason Adams attended the ribbon cutting and collected stories from Black residents who grew up playing at Green Pastures and are excited about its next chapter.
Building Cultural Bridges Through Mexilachian Music
With Spanglish lyrics, the pluck of a banjo and strum of a guitarra de son, music by Charlottsville’s Lua Project is hard to place. The band defines its sound as “Mexilachian”— a blend of Appalachian old-time and Mexican folk music, but Lua members said their music also draws on Jewish and Eastern European traditions, with a dash of baroque and Scots-Irish influence. The Lua Project has made it their mission to merge their various identities into music. Last year, Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Clara Haizlett caught up with some of the band at their home in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Marie Manilla On ‘Urban Appalachia’
For a lot of writers, and publishers, Appalachia means stories about the rural experience — like coal mining or farming. Author Marie Manilla grew up with a different type of Appalachian experience in the city of Huntington, West Virginia. Manilla spoke with reporter Liz McCormick about why she identifies as “urban Appalachian,” and how she uses her work to push for change in West Virginia and around the world.
Child Care Challenges Pre-Date Pandemic
West Virginia women have the lowest workforce participation rate in the country. Many Mountain State moms want to work, but can’t because of the lack of child care. They either can’t find child care, or they can’t afford it. The unexpected closure of schools in the spring of 2020, and then months of isolation from extended families and caregivers, put a spotlight on these issues. But as Emily Corio reports, child care challenges pre-date the pandemic.
Families Feel Pressures Of Child Care Desert
Parents in Appalachia can wait months, even years, to get their kids a space in a childcare center. It took nearly three years for Megan Hullinger to get her son, Nathan, a spot.
“It’s almost impossible to get a child under the age of two into a registered center,” Hullinger said.
That’s because more than 60 percent of people in West Virginia live in a child care desert, according to the Center for American Progress. A child care desert means there are more people who need childcare than there are spots available. Inside Appalachia producer Roxy Todd spoke to parents across the state about the difficulty of finding child care close to home.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet us @InAppalachia. Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by The Lua Project, Wes Swing, Jake Schepps, and Dinosaur Burps. You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia.
Roxy Todd is our producer. Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our interim executive producer is Eric Douglas. Our editor is Kelley Libby. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia. You can also send us an email to InsideAppalachia@wvpublic.org.