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Black History and Coal Communities

Authored By
Raphael Evans, Emily Isaac, and Ross A. Whitley
Black History and Coal Communities infographic
(OSMRE graphic by Emily Isaac)

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history” – Carter G. Woodson  

Carter G. Woodson, the descendant of enslaved Africans, traveled to West Virginia in 1892 with his family to begin a new life. Working in the railroad and coal mining industries would afford him and many other African Americans of their time precisely that – a fresh start.  

During his time there, he mined both the Kaymoor and Nuttallburg mines found in New River Gorge National River. While listening to the stories of his countrymen and fellow African American miners, Woodson found inspiration to document, teach and herald the struggles and achievements of African American people. 

Woodson, known as the “Father of Black history,” serves as a great reminder that Black history is American history and to that end, is beautifully intertwined in the history of coal country. Thanks to individuals like Woodson, there is a great record of the relationship between Black history and the history of coal. Please enjoy the following interesting facts about Black history in coal communities. 

For more information about the life of Carter G. Woodson, visit