We conclude our seventh year with an issue that I hope our readers find stimulating. We begin with an article by Thomas J. Edge on the early history of the NAACP in Charleston, contributing to a series of pieces we have published over the past seven years dealing with the state's African American history, one of our proudest achievements. Joseph Super opens a dialog with the Appalachian region's religious history with his imaginatively researched piece charting the influence of the railroad and economic development on the state's eastern border counties, an area where timber, not coal, was king. We are also able to offer a new feature in this issue—one that treats a long-simmering historical controversy. Joseph L. Tropea looks again at the tragedy that unfolded in Monongah in 1907, offering a careful separation of evidence from myths that shaped the way we remember the horrific explosion that decimated immigrant communities in the Fairmont coal fields. Finally, the issue includes Harold M. Forbes's annual bibliography of publications on the Mountain State to keep us up-to-date, as well as reviews of eleven recently published books that reflect on various aspects of the Appalachian region.
Our next issue will offer a special treat. We will devote the entire issue to public history in the state, places and projects where interested citizens can engage the past rather than simply read about it. Melissa Bingmann, who directs the public history program at West Virginia University, will be the guest editor for the issue that we hope will begin a regular feature high-lighting the many and varied opportunities for our readers to have different experiences with our state's rich and fascinating history. Enjoy! [End Page v]