Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Will Warren, Zander Aloi, Briana Heaney Published

The Grand March And A Year After A Denied Abortion, Inside Appalachia

A wide shot of several people standing on a small hill. They are dancing and wearing a mixture of pink and blue outfits.
The Grand March is part of Kentucky's oldest festival, the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival.
Will Warren/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For nearly a century, the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival has staged a formal dance. We visit the festival and learn about a manual that’s been passed down for generations.

Also, abortion is illegal in most cases in Tennessee. A photographer spent a year following one mother who was denied an abortion. 

And we talk to Marshall University professor and poet Sarah Henning about her latest book, Burn.

You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

The Tradition Of The Grand March

The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is the oldest festival in the state of Kentucky, and it happens Memorial Day weekend. 

It’s a four-day celebration culminating in “The Grand March,” a traditional dance that has been passed down since the first festival in 1931.

Folkways Reporter Will Warren, a Pineville native, went to the festival over Memorial Day weekend last year and brought us the story.

Indian Creek Water Worries Residents 

A photograph of a contaminated creek. The water is murky and gray.
One of the three places along the creek where water started sprouting out, and with it a white stringy slime.

Courtesy of David Stover

Residents of Wyoming County, West Virginia, say their drinking water is making people sick. But it’s unclear exactly why — and who’s responsible for fixing the problem.

State regulators say water from a nearby mining complex is flowing into the creek, but who owns the mine and who is responsible for cleaning up the toxic water?

WVPB’s Briana Heaney reported.

Stacy Kranitz And “A Year After A Denied Abortion”

A woman holds a small child as a man stands behind her. The photograph is dark, as if there wasn't much light in the room.
Photographer Stacy Kranitz documented a family’s difficult year, following a denied abortion.

Photo Credit: Stacy Kranitz

Tennessee photographer Stacy Kranitz acknowledges the complicated history of people taking pictures of poor Appalachians, often focusing on the harsher, ugly elements that reinforce stereotypes. She actively wrestles with it in her work. 

Host Mason Adams spoke with Kranitz about her work documenting the lives of a young family last year called “The Year After a Denied Abortion.” 

Memories Of Family And Loss With Burn Poet Sarah Henning

A photograph of a woman with brown hair and glasses leaning against a bookshelf. In her arms, she holds a small pile of books.
Sara Henning’s latest book of poetry is Burn.

Courtesy Photo

In her new book Burn, Marshall University professor and poet Sara Henning draws on her complicated family history and rough upbringing to explore young love, loss and the weight of grief.

Producer Bill Lynch spoke with her.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Sierra Ferrell, Ed Snodderly, Ron Mullenex and Gerry Milnes, Jeff Ellis, Eric Vincent Huey and John Blissard. 

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our Executive Producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our Audio Mixer is Patrick Stephens.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.