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Us & Them

Society-and-culture

We tell stories from the fault lines that separate Americans. Peabody Award-winning public radio producer Trey Kay listens to people on both sides of the divide.

Popular episodes

A Platefull of Politics

Nov 23 • 52:00

It’s another Thanksgiving with COVID-19, but this time, vaccinations allow many Americans to gather together and share a hug and a meal. Us & Them host Trey Kay invites his ‘virtual dinner party’ guests back for an anniversary. It’s a tradition we began last year - bringing together a wide ranging group to talk occasionally about the hot topics of the day. We talk politics...

Last Man Honored

Nov 10 • 29:22

Us & Them host Trey Kay honors Veterans Day with a remarkable conversation with the last surviving World War ll U.S. Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor. Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams grew up as a farm kid in the Mountain State and enlisted in the Marine Corps just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served in the Pacific campaign and fought in the Battle of Iwo Ji...

West Virginia's Charter School Era Begins

Oct 28 • 51:55

West Virginia is now the 42nd state to introduce public charter schools as an education choice for parents and students. A new state law allows the creation of ten charter schools over the next three years. That can include two virtual charter schools. A state authorizing board is reviewing seven applications that are required to follow the same rules and regulations that ...

Fighting to Learn

Oct 6 • 29:05

America is seen as a land of opportunities and education for all. But a group of young refugees in Pennsylvania had to challenge the local school district to access their schooling. Lancaster school officials first said the six refugees aged 17 to 21 were too old for public school programs. Only after a lawsuit and protracted negotiations, were the students placed in class...

Juvie: Why are so many young West Virginians incarcerated and at what cost?

Sep 22 • 51:55

Every year, West Virginia children are taken into state custody. Sometimes, a case involves parental neglect or drug abuse. Other times, kids commit crimes and are placed in juvenile residential facilities. The juvenile justice programs and agencies have been under a spotlight over the past decade - partly because West Virginia has had one of the highest rates of juvenile ...

Blair Mountain

Sep 9 • 50:00

One hundred years ago West Virginia was home to our nation’s most violent labor uprising. For some, the Battle of Blair Mountain was a watershed moment when coal workers decided their rights were worth fighting and even dying for. The armed insurrection pitted 10,000 coal miners against 3,000 heavily armed coal industry guards and state troopers. The conflict came to a hea...

Grandfamilies of the Opioid Crisis

Aug 26 • 51:27

WVPB’s Us & Them introduces us to an unusual cultural divide, one that exists within families. It’s a generation split that comes when chemical addiction prevents parents from raising their children. Millions of U.S. households have become “grandfamilies,” a new kind of family structure. This generational Us & Them divide, puts pressure on aging adults and spotlights under...

Hillers & Creekers

Aug 12 • 36:04

Our cultural divides start early in America - some even in childhood. As kids, we learn where we come from and where we belong. Those divisions can really run deep. When Us & Them host Trey Kay was a kid at George Washington High School in Charleston, West Virginia, you were either a ‘hiller’ or a ‘creeker.’ The sorting followed class lines and separated kids based on thei...

The Stigma of Sobriety

Jul 22 • 52:00

America has faced a pandemic, a polarizing election and racial equity battles in the past year. But there’s been another crisis continuing to fester — the opioid epidemic. Deaths are up with more than 1,200 West Virginians dying from overdoses last year. The fight for sobriety now deals with its own tragic divide — When is someone sober?...

A Band On The Right Side Of History

Jul 8 • 34:48

Fifty years ago, a band of Black musicians stood up to racism and now they’ve been honored for that action. Bass player John Smith is the surviving member of “The In Crowd,” a Charleston, West Virginia band that played popular tunes in the 1960s. One night at the Charleston Athletic Club, a multi-racial couple was refused service and the band took a stand. John Smith says,...

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