Thomas E. Wagner and Phillip J. Obermiller's African American Miners and Migrants documents the lives of Eastern Kentucky Social Club (EKSC) members, a group of black Appalachians who left the eastern Kentucky coalfields and their coal company hometowns in Harlan County.
Bound together by segregation, the inherent dangers of mining, and coal company paternalism, it might seem that black miners and mountaineers would be eager to forget their past. Instead, members of the EKSC have chosen to celebrate their Harlan County roots. African American Miners and Migrants uses historical and archival research and extensive personal interviews to explore their reasons and the ties that still bind them to eastern Kentucky. The book also examines life in the model coal towns of Benham and Lynch in the context of Progressive Era policies, the practice of welfare capitalism, and the contemporary national trend of building corporate towns and planned communities.
In this collection, contributors reflect on scholarly, artistic, activist, educational, and practical endeavor known as Appalachian Studies. Following an introduction to the field, the writers discuss how Appalachian Studies illustrates the ways interdisciplinary studies emerge, organize, and institutionalize themselves, and how they engage with intellectual, political, and economic forces both locally and around the world.
Essayists argue for Appalachian Studies' integration with kindred fields like African American studies, women's studies, and Southern studies, and they urge those involved in the field to globalize the perspective of Appalachian Studies; to commit to continued applied, participatory action, and community-based research; to embrace more fully the field's capacity for bringing about social justice; to advocate for a more accurate understanding of Appalachia and its people; and to understand and overcome the obstacles interdisciplinary studies face in the social and institutional construction of knowledge.
Contributors: Chris Baker, Chad Berry, Donald Edward Davis, Amanda Fickey, Chris Green, Erica Abrams Locklear, Phillip J. Obermiller, Douglas Reichert Powell, Michael Samers, Shaunna L. Scott, and Barbara Ellen Smith.