by Cicero M Fain III
University of Illinois Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-252-05143-2 | Paper: 978-0-252-08442-3 | Cloth: 978-0-252-04259-1
Library of Congress Classification F249.H95F35 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 975.40496073


How African Americans thrived in a West Virginia city

By 1930, Huntington had become West Virginia's largest city. Its booming economy and relatively tolerant racial climate attracted African Americans from across Appalachia and the South. Prosperity gave these migrants political clout and spurred the formation of communities that defined black Huntington--factors that empowered blacks to confront institutionalized and industrial racism on the one hand and the white embrace of Jim Crow on the other. Cicero M. Fain III illuminates the unique cultural identity and dynamic sense of accomplishment and purpose that transformed African American life in Huntington. Using interviews and untapped archival materials, Fain details the rise and consolidation of the black working class as it pursued, then fulfilled, its aspirations. He also reveals how African Americans developed a host of strategies--strong kin and social networks, institutional development, property ownership, and legal challenges--to defend their gains in the face of the white status quo. Eye-opening and eloquent, Black Huntington makes visible another facet of the African American experience in Appalachia.