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Culture, Class, and Politics in Modern Appalachia

Essays in Honor of Ronald L. Lewis

Edited by Jennifer Egolf, Ken Fones-Wolf, and Louis C. Martin

Publication Year: 2009

Culture, Class, and Politics in Modern Appalachia takes stock of the field of Appalachian studies as it explores issues still at the center of its scholarship: culture, industrialization, the labor movement, and twentieth-century economic and political failure and their social impact. A new generation of scholars continues the work of Appalachian studies’ pioneers, exploring the diversity and complexity of the region and its people. Labor migrations from around the world transformed the region during its critical period of economic growth. Collective struggles over occupational health and safety, the environment, equal rights, and civil rights challenged longstanding stereotypes. Investigations of political and economic power and the role of social actors and social movements in Appalachian history add to the foundational work that demonstrates a dynamic and diverse region.

Published by: West Virginia University Press

Series: West Virginia and Appalachia

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-xix

IT HAS BEEN more than ten years since the seminal volume Appalachia in the Making: The Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century was published. That collection grew out of the flourishing of scholarly work on nineteenth century Appalachian history and inspired another...

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Introduction: Writing Appalachia: Old Ways, New Ways, and WVU Ways

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pp. 1-28

APPALACHIA has been written in diverse and contradictory ways for more than a century and a half. With the growth of a multi-disciplinary Appalachian Studies movement, especially during the last thirty years, representation of Appalachia has both changed dramatically and been...

Section I: Culture

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'Scrip Was a Way of Life': Company Stores, Jewish Merchants, and the Coalfield Retail Economy

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pp. 31-55

IN THE WOODY ALLEN movie Zelig, the title character finds himself a bystander at an implausibly large number of important historical occasions, so the audience sees these famous events through the lens of an ordinary Jewish everyman. This essay will engage in a...

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A Combat Scenario: Early Coal Mining and the Culture of Danger

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pp. 56-87

ON JANUARY 29, 1907, coal production at the Stuart Mine in Fayette County, West Virginia, came to a halt after a loaded car on the cage shifted position,1 tearing out supporting timbers and metal guides near the shaft bottom. Soon after, coal loaders at the...

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Radical Challenge and Conservative Triumph: The Struggle to Define American Identity in the Somerset County Coal Strike, 1922-1923

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pp. 88-117

ON APRIL 1, 1922, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) issued a call to all union miners to drop their tools and join their fellow miners in a national strike. The UMWA also strongly encouraged non-union miners in the country to join their unionized brothers. ...

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Separate But Never Equal: Dewey W. Fox and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Age of Jim Crow

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pp. 118-137

ON JUNE 29, 1898, in the small community of Kearneysville, West Virginia, Dewey William Fox was born. Fox was the youngest of four children born to John H. and Mary E. Fox, former slaves of the Dandridge family from Jefferson and Berkeley counties. Although the recorded history of...

Section II: Class

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'Sadly in need of organization': Labor Relations in the Fairmont Field, 1890 to 1918

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pp. 141-165

THIS WARNING WAS issued by one of the founders of West Virginia in an address at the celebration of the Municipal Centennial of Morgantown. With the Fairmont, Morgantown & Pittsburgh extension of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad fast approaching, Willey was optimistic...

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The Matewan Massacre: Before and After

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pp. 166-203

MAY 19, 1920, dawned dreary and overcast. Though rain drizzled from the clouds intermittently throughout the day, the small town of Matewan in Mingo County, West Virginia, teemed with miners, as union relief funds were being distributed. In the midst of the activity...

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Progress and Persistent Problems: Sixty Years of Health Care in Appalachia

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pp. 204-223

THE UNITED STATES has a two-tiered health care delivery system. This fact has been documented in countless studies and reports dating back at least sixty years.1 However, the public has largely ignored this point due to the fact that average statistics taken over the years...

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1199 Comes to Appalachia: Beginnings, 1970-1976

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pp. 224-250

THE JUNE 1971 cover of 1199 News, the monthly magazine of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, featured a photographic study that was out of the ordinary for the urban-based union.1 Readers, who by and large were women and minority...

Section III: Politics

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Mining Reform After Monongah: The Conservative Response to Mine Disasters

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pp. 253-282

ONE OF FAIRMONT COAL COMPANY’S most modern operations was located in Monongah, West Virginia. In fact, Monongah’s interconnecting mines, No. 6 and 8, were considered the jewels of the Fairmont Field, safe and “up to date in every way.”1 ...

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Depression, Recovery, Instability: The NRA and the McDowell County, West Virginia Coal Industry, 1920-1938

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pp. 283-304

MCDOWELL COUNTY, the southernmost county in West Virginia, depended on the coal industry for its economic livelihood throughout the twentieth century. During the latter half of the century, however, many of the coal operations in the county closed and left the region destitute. ...

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To Dance with the Devil: The Social Impact of Mountaintop Removal Surface Coal Mining

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pp. 305-328

AS THE NINETEENTH CENTURY gave way to the twentieth, West Virginia’s rural backcounties experienced a fundamental transformation. Natural-resource speculators pervaded the area; chief among them were the coal and timber industries, along with their handmaiden, the railroad industry. ...


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pp. 329-334


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pp. 335-338

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 339-347

E-ISBN-13: 9781935978145
E-ISBN-10: 1935978144
Print-ISBN-13: 9781933202396
Print-ISBN-10: 1933202394

Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: West Virginia and Appalachia