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Community and Culture in the New River Gorge
Item 2 of 13
This is a contributing entry for Community and Culture in the New River Gorge and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
African Americans made up a large part of the workforce in mines throughout the New River area; many were immigrants from the south seeking a better life. To be sure, the advertising campaigns of coal companies and the professional labor recruiters spurred southern blacks to move to the coalfields. Nuttallburg was one of the many towns that recruited African American laborers. The town, however, was segregated and maintained separate schools, churches, and other facilities. White residents lived on the west side of the river while black residents lived on the east side and between the railroad tracks and river. Despite being segregated, African Americans were able to earn a relatively decent living in the New River area. At the age of seventeen, Carter G. Woodson moved to Nuttallburg with his brothers to earn money for schooling. He worked several years at Nuttallburg and the nearby Kaymoor mine, often reading the news to illiterate black miners. Once he received his Bachelor of Literature degree, Woodson moved to the town of Winona to teach. Woodson went on to become the second African American to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University, making a life for himself out of his humble beginnings in the small mining town of Nuttallburg.

In this image of miners in Nuttallburg, several black miners can be seen on the left of the photo.

Clothing, Photograph, White, Standing

Carter G. Woodson saved money while working in the Nuttallburg mines and was eventually able to graduate from Harvard University with a PhD in history.

Forehead, Chin, Eyebrow, Coat

Nuttallburg Visitor Use Area Implementation Plan/Environmental Assessment , National Park Service. January 1st 2011. Accessed May 4th 2021.

Trotter, William Joe. Jr. Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915-32. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1990.

Walsh, Rita. Nuttallburg Coal Mining Complex and Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places. May 1st 2005. Accessed May 4th 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

“Coal Miners at Nuttallburg.” National Park Service. Accessed May 4th 2021.

Carter G. Woodson. Wikimedia. Accessed May 4th 2021.,_Carter_G._Woodson_Home_National_Historic_Site,_1915._(18f7565bf62142c0ad7fff83701ca5f6).jpg.