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Black HuntingtonAn Appalachian Story$
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Cicero M., III Fain

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042591

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042591.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Into the Crucible

Into the Crucible

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and the Black Industrial Worker, 1870–1900

(p.45) Chapter 3 Into the Crucible
Black Huntington

Cicero M. Fain III

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the period from 1870 to 1900, a time in which African Americans increasing move into the capitalist-wage system to better their circumstance. It highlights the criticality of black workers and the duality of their experience in the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, the opening up of southern West Virginia’s coalfields, and the rise of Huntington as an important urban-industrial enclave. It contends that while their labor was valued, their humanity was not. Racism and occupational barriers blocked black workers’ autonomy and advancement in the workplace. Further, within Huntington, black class stratification and white working-class hostility blunted the formation of concerted black or inter-racial working class activism that might have opened up increased opportunities for each group.

Keywords:   Black industrial worker, Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, New River Valley, John Henry, proletarianization, Richard L. Davis, black class stratification, southern West Virginia coalfields, interracial unionism

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