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According to the National Park Service, between 1870 and 1930, hundreds of thousands of white people, African Americans, and European immigrants came to West Virginia to work in the coal mines. For Black coal miners, this backbreaking work was an opportunity to escape the Jim Crow South and build a better life for themselves and their families. By 1909, African Americans made up over 26% of West Virginia mine workers, yet their contributions to mining are largely forgotten.
While segregation and institutionalized racism were still prevalent in West Virginia, as Expatalatchians explained, the state government was not as harsh in handing down de jure discrimination, though the unparalleled control that coal companies had over the miners’ lives worsened the conditions of working-class Black miners.
Why This Matters: As Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, explained, as we work toward a just transition for American workers, we cannot forget the sacrifices, struggles and fight for justice that Black miners navigated. Miners helped form the American economy in a significant way, but now as we work to develop the energy of the future we cannot leave anyone behind and must ensure that those previously unseen are called to help shape this future.
By Wizipan Little Elk On August 23, 1804, a shot rang out on the wind-swept prairie near what is now called southeastern South Dakota, marking the first buffalo kill of the famous Lewis and Clark reconnaissance expedition. For us Lakota, our neighbors, and our buffalo relatives, it signaled the beginning of what was to become […]
Continuing its set of opinion surveys in the run-up to Earth Day, Gallup has released the results of another poll, finding that the percent of American adults who say that “protection of the environment should be given priority even at the risk of curbing economic growth” has dropped by 15% since 2018. Experts say that this number often correlates with unemployment, which the COVID-19 pandemic greatly increased.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Netflix has announced a commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022. The plan, called “Net Zero + Nature,” was announced on the Netflix blog by Dr. Emma Stewart, who became the content platform’s first sustainability officer in the fall of 2020. Netflix estimates that its 2020 […]
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