ERIC Number: ED309903
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Social Dynamics of Color, Class, and Gender: Afro-American Work and Community in the Southern West Virginia Coal Fields, 1915-1932.
Trotter, Joe W.
This essay focuses on southern West Virginia between 1915 and 1932 to explore the dynamics of Afro-American work and community life in the Appalachian region. More specifically, it analyzes the rise and expansion of the black coal mining proletariat, the role of black men and women in the process, and the impact of the proletarianization on black economic life in coal mining towns. The emergence of the black coal mining proletariat was an exceedingly complex process. It was deeply rooted in the imperatives of black life in the rural South, as well as the dynamics of industrial capitalism in the coal fields. Coal demands and production increased during and after World War I, leading to a sharp rise in the number of black men entering the mining labor force. Through their Southern kin and friendship networks, black coal miners played a crucial role in organizing their own migration to the region, facilitating their own entrance into the industrial labor force. The volatile nature of black coal mining employment also required substantial contributions from black women. These included child-rearing, gardening, canning, and small-scale home farming, along with the regular domestic tasks. In 1920, when 19.8% of black women were gainfully employed, only 10.8% of the American-born white women and fewer foreign-born women were so employed. This document quotes numerous primary sources and contains 26 end notes. (TES)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia