Daily Archives: December 29, 2007

Early Life in the Coal Camp-Black and White Schools

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A coal camp consist of lots of different nationalities, white people and black people.  I was just a little girl who resided in this town with these people.  I thought it seemed weird that the black people had to live in their section of the town.  I didn’t understand why and I usually asked lots of questions.

I remember a old black man walking down the tracks.  He usually had on a hat, jacket and work boots.  He always walked looking down at the ground and wouldn’t speak unless you spoke to him.  Back then……..he was walking through the white section of town and he was not free to be friendly or speak on his own.

The black people had their own section of town, worshiped in their own churches and had an old run down school that was for blacks only.  Something seemed unfair.  The white school was a large building with two floors, water fountains and nice classrooms.  Of course, the coal company had a lot to do with good schools.

My dad always worked with black people and he got along with them and respected them.  My mom asked a black lady to help her wallpaper the kitchen.  I can still see that wallpaper with a white background and red cherries and red trim.  When the lady finished she asked my mom if she had any vanilla flavoring.  Mother asked her if she was going to bake something and she said no.  She wanted to use it for perfume.  We always thought this was so funny.

There was a black man who’s last name was Saunders.  He built my dad a huge tool box and daddy kept it until he died.  I recently spoke with Mr. Saunders son and we related the story of daddy working with his dad in a coal mine at Mammoth, WV.

My, my how things have changed for the better in the last sixty years.

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