BY MICHAEL AND CARRIE KLINE, FOLKLORISTS, TALKING ACROSS THE LINES
What happens when football stars from the Class of 1966 at Mount Hope High School in Fayette County, WV hire a couple of folklorists to document their lifelong friendships across racial lines? Michael and Carrie Kline, the folklorists, like the chicken who crossed the road, get to the other side and down the rabbit hole, taking listeners and viewers tunneling through stories of black school burnings, forging a consolidated school, mourning the loss of black cheerleaders and black culture as passed along by devoted teachers and local adults, tales of black and white boys getting their homemade kites stuck in trees and sharing sleeping bags on camping trips.
Listeners will find themselves cheering along the sidelines, not only at interracial championship football games, but also for the brave high school students who defied their principal’s threats and paved the way for black cheerleaders, and for the ways that Mount Hope youth, when left to their own devices, played together, stayed together and formed lasting bonds.
- Game Changer: Football as a Catalyst for Peaceable School Integration is the first installment in the Hope podcast series, commissioned and directed by the Mountain of Hope Organization, (MOHO) supported by the West Virginia Humanities Council and produced by Talking Across the Lines, LLC, available through https://soundcloud.com/talkingacrossthelines or wherever you get your podcasts.
- Dollars & Cents: Race and Class in the West Virginia Coalfields is the second installment in the Hope podcast series, commissioned and directed by MOHO, supported by the West Virginia Humanities Council and produced by Talking Across the Lines, available through https://soundcloud.com/talkingacrossthelines or wherever you get your podcasts.
Watch and listen deeply to Talking Across the Lines’ current enterprise, Hope, on YouTube and podcast sites. Hope is an interracial documentary project conducted over the past two and a half years focused on Mount Hope, WV in the heart of the New River coalfields. Michael and Carrie Kline, along with their apprentice O.H. Jackson Napier, have collected more than 40 life story interviews from sons and daughters of coal miners. The stories come alive in conversational episodes interweaving lively music and spoken memories from 60 hours of field recordings.
Singing the Blues: Nat Reese of Princeton, WV is the most recent installment in the Talking Across the Lines podcast. This West Virginia bluesman describes the span of his career throughout the southern coalfields. His dad came from Virginia “to shake that money tree,” but precious little shook loose.
The Talking Across the Lines podcast and YouTube channel carry visitors inside the kitchens and living rooms of west Virginians through the intimate lens of folklorists Michael and Carrie Kline. Podcast episodes include The Homeplace, visits with West Virginia musicians and a widow from the Mannington Mine Disaster, produced with WV Humanities Council and Augusta Heritage Center support. PayDirt airs a variety of views and music delving into the soul and complexity of the current day gas rush.
Stay tuned for a rollicking seven-part series, Voices from the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, beginning with Native peoples and running through the Great Depression in the Allegheny Highlands and foothills of northcentral West Virginia. These hour-long episodes of conversational history are seamlessly mixed–spoken, sung and played in the music of people living along the historic route.