Happy National Punctuation Day

Welcome, and welcome back, to Black By God’s good trouble.

Allow us to reintroduce Black By God as our community expands.

We’re committed to celebrating, preserving and connecting Black West Virginia— while improving the quality of life for Mountaineers facing information inequality.

Community-based storytelling relies on connections, creators and collaboration.

Are you ready to join the movement? Reach out to us at, follow @BlackByGodWV and keep scrolling for more information about opportunities with BBG.

Young, Black & Beautiful West Virginia

Black By God is excited to share the talent and creative eye of Charleston-based photographer, playwright, journalist and entrepreneur - Leeshia Lee 📸

You can follow Leeshia on your favorite social media platform at @leeshialee and @a_shot_of_lee.

Natalyia Sayles (17), MariJane’ (15) and Adaliah (16) are Charleston natives and Capital High School students who decided to have an impromptu photoshoot with jewels 💎 they received from Young West Virginia’s For The People Week Of Action at the West Virginia State Capitol Complex on July 26, 2021. The young women attended the events emphasizing the importance of voting.

Please follow YOUNG WEST VIRGINIA to learn more about this inspiring work.

What the Fungible is an NFT?

Non Fungible Tokens, or NFT’s,“are designed to give you something that can’t be copied: ownership of the work (though the artist can still retain the copyright and reproduction rights, just like with physical artwork). To put it in terms of physical art collecting: anyone can buy a Monet print. But only one person can own the original,” according to The Verge.

What does this mean for BBG?

We are hoping for bids on our NFT and to use NFT’s to inspire a conversation about technology careers. "The statistics show there are not many Black people in tech, but they don’t say why, and that's the important thing..." (from Tech Monitor).

West Virginia isn’t known as a place for innovation in science and technology.

But, at Black By God, we celebrate the future and history with science and technology icons like Katherine Johnson and the renaissance man, inventor and physics enthusiast Pierre Moss.

Learn how to start your crypto wallet.


BBG Exclusive | No Justice for Justice 🏀

If you could travel back in time to the 1950s, where would you start? Asking Jim Justice, in the prime of his childhood, what he’d like to be when he grows up?

It would be fascinating to hear if his answer included ‘expired billionaire, a two-term governor and coach of not one— but two— high school basketball teams.’

At the very least, you could tell him he’d be making headlines decades later for relentlessly pursuing this job combo at age 71. (Including last week’s headline, from BBG contributor Marc Delucchi.)

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Petty Pursuit Of Greenbrier East’s Boys Basketball Coaching Job
While thousands of West Virginians struggle for their lives and livelihoods, the highest-ranking member of the state’s government is stuck in another high school basketball controversy. One of the poorest states in the country, West Virginia was hammered…
Read more

Justice has built his political appeal around modern right-wing ‘culture wars.’ If someone criticizes him or something he’s done, he’s built the perfect deflective mechanism. In Justice’s world, people aren’t critical of his multi-million dollar business ventures because of his history of not paying bills, mistreating employees, or the conflict of interests it creates for him as governor, but because they are out to get him. If someone says he shouldn’t be Greenbrier East’s basketball coach, it’s not because he already has multiple full-time jobs or has a checkered past as a coach, but because they disagree with his politics… Justice has to take everything personally because otherwise, he’d have to live in the world of facts, and those are rarely on his side,” Delucchi wrote.

His prediction of how Justice would handle rejection came true. On September 21, the Governor released a two-page statement sharing his utter dismay at not being chosen:

“Does the hate of these Board members hurt? Of course, it does,” he said. “When you love our school and community as I do — it really hurts. Could I have done a great job for the school and every one of the kids? Without any doubt period. Always, my first responsibilities will be: the Governorship of our State, but with more hard work helping kids achieve goodness is something that I will never be ashamed of.”

Among other proclamations of supposed superiority, Justice signed his letter, “My kids win in life after basketball!” We hope the same for you, Jim, once the Greenbrier East girl’s basketball team can move on, too.

And, what’s exclusive commentary from Black By God without a cartoon from our editorial team?

A cap is a lie. A capper is a liar. So if someone is capping, they are lying.
-Urban Dictionary

Join Black By God - APPLY HERE!

We are looking for someone who loves to write and wants a taste of what it is like to be a part of a news team. Upon completion, you’ll receive course credit as a student content intern.

Our goal with this position is to provide information grounded in the realities of Black life through a different kind of journalism; a media platform where Black citizens are part of the reporting process as storytellers and amplifying personal experiences. We believe democracy begins with information.

As an Intern Content Writer, you will support Black by God’s newsletter / website by working together with our founder to broaden a steady stream of online content for our quarterly newspaper print while you’ll research, write and proofread copy for various platforms including newsletters, articles, social media, marketing materials and upcoming special projects.

Questions? Email!

And, if you’re not a student but would like to contribute to the publication with commentary, multimedia content or collaborations, reach out to us anytime.

News To Know (& Some You Wish You Didn’t)

Westover City Attorney Calls West Virginia’s Only Black Female Delegate Danielle Walker A B*%^!

“In the audio clip, which was uploaded earlier this month, conversation between a few city officials was centered around the August 2020 letter calling for the removal of Officer Aaron Dalton and a request for former Police Chief Richard Panico to withdraw his letter of resignation. In the audio file, the importance of civic confidence in Westover was discussed, along with how incidents like the police department’s letter and Panico’s resignation at the time impact it.

About an hour and 14 minutes into the recording, Stranko stated, “Public Safety’s serious business, that’s why this bitch — sorry— that’s why this delegate screaming about Westover’s an unsafe place to be is so destructive, because we know that’s not the case,” Gabriella Brown reported for the Dominion Post on September 20, 2021.

Delegate Danielle Walker’s response?

“… I am more than a delegate, as I’m a public servant, just like each and every one of you. I am a child of God, a daughter, a granddaughter, a godmother, a cousin , an auntie, a taxpayer, a laborer, an activist, an advocate, a volunteer, a board member, a voice of the people, an American, a West Virginian, a mountaineer, a mother — a newly grieving mother as I just lost my son to his battle of leukemia,” Walker said to Westover City Council.

“What my parents did not born was a female dog, a female wolf, a female fox or a female otter. That derogatory term that I was called was a ‘B’.”

West Virginia’s reliance on out-of-state group homes leaves some foster kids in unsafe, abusive situations

By Amelia Ferrell Knisely and Molly Born | The GroundTruth Projects for Mountain State Spotlight | September 21, 2021

When major problems — including abuse and neglect — come to light, the state doesn’t always immediately move kids to safety. West Virginia officials tasked with foster kids’ care won’t answer questions about how they vet out-of-state facilities or how often they check on the kids living there.


It’s been a momentous week.

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Radically Rural Confrence with Trusting News and the Black Media Initiave Session with the Center For Community Media. I can’t remember which event but my Zoom wig was on crooked! (I highly recommend Zoom wigs… aka wigs specifically used for Zoom.)

I’m giddy to announce the start of three projects that each contributes to the growth of Black By God and our story telling mission.

1. I am part of the Freedom Ways Residency with Press On! The theme is HOME. Two days into orientation and that’s exactly what it feels like. I am so relived to have this community and capacity to take a deep dive into movement journalism.

I am also excited to share that my doc-series, “Dear Appalachia,” a project I’ve been working on for over a year with Ashley & John York of Hazeltime production is part of the CNN Film Independent Docuseries Intensive. And, yes - its intense!

Finally! Representing BBG, I’ve been contracted by WYYY the Pulse to tell two important stories with Kyle Vass. The first will be on Black infant mortality rates in West Virginia. This story is deeply troubling but meeting a Black family who beat the odds with the birth of their healthy baby born at home on Juneteenth in the care of West Virginia’s only Black birth worker — I celebrate.

I am thankful for all the new followers and those donating to keep BBG going. Please consider donating through our VENMO account. We also have these delightful mugs for your favorite fall drink. Mine is always coffee.

If you would like to buy a mug so that I can buy a cup of coffee for our BBG Team Maura and Leeshia — well, they deserve all the things, including free coffee! I can’t do this without their support and talents. 🙏🏾

Keep Good,
~ Crystal | (304) 207-0352‬

P.S. Thank you to our reader Katonya Hart for reminding us it’s National Punctuation Day! Hope you don’t miss a period, because then you might have a run on - sentence.


A guest post by
Urban Appalachian Photojournalist
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