The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

May 5, 2014

Final lecture in Coal Heritage Series Tuesday

Historic coal camps have long been considered a place where the operator had control over the residents. While many fond memories of good neighbors and strong families persist, most agree that the operator wielded a certain power.

However, the final lecture in the 2014 Coal Heritage Lecture Series will explore the culture of resistance in historic coal camps. Gordon Simmons, historian and Marshall University instructor, will give a lecture titled The Miner’s Freedom May 6 at 7 p.m. at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center in room E 10.

The lecture, presented by Concord University Beckley and the Coal Heritage Highway Authority, is free and open to the public.

Simmons will discuss the idea that, before mechanization, there was a definite sense among coal miners that they could exert some independence and autonomy over the actual pace of work underground, despite the fact that the owners controlled the coal camps. His talk will be based on the book, “The Miners’ Freedom,” which explores this sense of independence.

This consciousness was eroded by mechanization, and the loss of this autonomy may have contributed to the drive to democratize the UMWA, as a way to regain some sense of self-determination.

This lecture will explore the relation between the work process and labor struggles.

Simmons has been active in labor organizations in West Virginia for a number of years. He has certificates in programs from the Institute of Labor Studies & Research, West Virginia AFL-CIO and the AFSCME Steward & Leadership Training. He has had articles and reviews published in Appalachian Heritage, ArtWorks, Charleston Gazette, Goldenseal, Graffiti, Ideas & Action, Labor History Journal, Labor Studies Journal, Traditions, UE News, West Virginia History, West Virginia Libraries, West Virginia Encyclopedia.

Simmons has been active in the West Virginia Labor History Association and currently serves as the president of that organization.

The lecture is the final presentation in the 2014 Coal Heritage Lecture Series.

The lecture series is a part of an academic class taught at Concord University Beckley by faculty member Karen Vuranch. The class, Coal Culture in West Virginia, explores the rich history of coal mining communities in the state and the history of the coal industry. As a part of the class, students participate in a project examining the 1920 census data from certain coal camps and research that specific town.

This year, student teams explored Tams in Raleigh County, Thurmond in Fayette County and Davy in McDowell County.

The Coal Heritage Public Lecture Series is presented by Concord University Beckley and the Coal Heritage Highway Authority. For more information, contact Concord University Beckley Center at 304-256-0270 or e-mail instructor Karen Vuranch at kvuranch@concord.edu.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ee 1.jpg Energy Express makes impact on students’ lives

    Energy Express to him, Matt White says, is all about a “different experience.”

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • maurices Fostering Self-Esteem

    The local Maurices is involved in a project aimed at making the school transition a little easier this fall for foster children in the area.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Children’s Health and Safety Fair scheduled for August 1

    Montgomery General Hospital and Dr. Traci Acklin have announced that the 2014 Children’s Health and Safety Fair will be held on Friday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Theater to hold auditions

    Open auditions are set for Tuesday and Thursday at the Historic Fayette Theater for the comedy/drama “Belongings”. Auditions will be held at the theater in Fayetteville at 7 p.m. each evening.

    July 21, 2014

  • asb carver 25 years and counting

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taylor Made Free concert series

    The next free public concert in the Lively Family Amphitheater Summer Concert Series is a performance Saturday at 6 p.m. by popular band Taylor Made.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Energy Express open house set

    Energy Express, an award-winning summer reading program serving 35+ children in Fayette County, will host a free open house for members of the Beards Fork SALS community. The event takes place on Thursday, July 24, at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    July 17, 2014

  • rhody1.jpg Stages of life

    July 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • thurmond depot.jpg Explore town’s rail heritage

    Discover what life was like in one of the New River Gorge’s most renowned towns as you join National Park Service rangers and Operation Lifesaver on Saturday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to explore the historic railroad town of Thurmond.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • apt bldg1.jpg Demolition and disposal

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos