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        8-12

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        The Mine Wars: The Coal Town System

        Discover the exploitative conditions under which coal mine workers in the early 1900s in West Virginia lived, in this video excerpted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Mine Wars. Coal towns were company-owned towns that had no elected officials and no independent police forces. They paid workers in company-issued currency, called scrip, and pressured mining families to shop exclusively for food, fuel, and other necessities at the coal operator’s own stores. With the system designed to assure a profit for the company—even if the company lost money through mining operations—workers felt trapped. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

        Click on the links below to download customizable Teaching Tips and the video transcript.

        Teaching Tips | Transcript

        Find out more at the program's website.

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