The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

July 5, 2010

Soul of Coal event set July 11

BECKLEY — Beyond athletic abilities, fallen coal miner William “Rosie” Roosevelt Lynch and NFL Kansas City Chiefs running back Thomas Jones have stronger common ground: both are part of the deep-rooted African American history in Appalachian coal mining. This shared history will bring the NFL premier player back to the coalfields in July. Jones will serve as keynote speaker at a unique event honoring Lynch and Joel “Jody” Price, two African American miners who lost their lives on April 5, 2010 at the Upper Big Branch mining disaster in Montcoal.

The Soul of Coal” will take place on Sunday, July 11 at 2 p.m, at Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley. The event will focus on the rich history and diversity in southern West Virginia coal mining, with proceeds going to the Lynch Memorial fund set up through the Beckley Area Foundation.

The event will include a soul food style luncheon, poetry and music. Jones will be introduced by Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, JD, Ed. D,, executive vice president of Mountain State University’s Beckley campus and daughter of an African American coal miner. With a July 2010 feature article on Lynch and African American coal miners, Jet and Ebony magazines will provide a special presentation during the event. Additionally, a special announcement is anticipated to be made by the National Mining Association and other community groups related to education, health and safety of children.

Recognizing Lynch’s legacy as a collegiate basketball player and former coach, the Oak Hill High School-Collins High School Alumni Association established the Lynch Memorial Fund through the Beckley Area Foundation in April. The fund’s mission is to send one deserving 10th-grade student to a summer basketball camp every year.

Jones is one of seven children from a coal mining family. Originally from Big Stone Gap, Va., he graduated from the University of Virginia on a football scholarship then was drafted (seventh overall) in the 2000 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He went on to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets before signing this year with the Chiefs. Jones’s younger brother, Julius Jones, is a running back for the Seattle Seahawks.

Soul of Coal tickets are $20 per attendee and $15 for youth or senior citizens. Seats or tables can be reserved by calling DBD Law at 304-342-0133. Payment by checks or donations can be made payable to BAF-Lynch Memorial Fund. Entire event information and online registration can be found by visiting: /soulofcoal .

Event sponsors include Mountain State University, DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero, and Mythology. Event or individual youth attendance sponsorship opportunities are still available. Call Jeff James at 304-346-2230, ext. 101, for more information.

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