Learn why African Americans from the South and immigrants from southern and eastern Europe came to West Virginia to work alongside native Appalachian miners in the early 20th century, in this video excerpted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Mine Wars. With the coal mining industry growing rapidly, mineworkers were in demand. To meet this demand, coal operators offered European immigrants a job and a home, and offered African American workers access to a system that proclaimed equal pay for equal work. Camps built by the coal companies to house their workers were racially and ethnically divided. This was done by design as a way to discourage unionization. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.
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