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.
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