“They Don’t Dig for Coal Here Anymore”

North Carolina's Coal Glen Mine

Coal Glen Mine disaster, ca. May 30–June 3, 1925, Chatham County, North Carolina, by Ben Dixon MacNeil, courtesy of the Ben Dixon MacNeill Photographic Collection (P0078), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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“They Don’t Dig for Coal Here Anymore”

North Carolina's Coal Glen Mine

by Forest Hazel
Southern Cultures, Vol. 23, No. 3: Things

“‘I don’t know about Providence, little preacher, but I do believe in rats.’”

When Sam Hall arrived for his morning shift at the Coal Glen coal mine on the morning of May 26, 1925, it was just another day on the job. He had been employed for some months as an underground miner, laboring thousands of feet from the sunlight every day, extracting the Deep River’s “black diamonds” for the Carolina Coal Company. The work was hard and dangerous, but the pay wasn’t bad, so Sam didn’t mind. At least, not until he saw the rats.

Editor’s note: “They Don’t Dig for Coal Here Anymore” is the title of a song written (and used with permission) by Alan Johnston of McDowell County, West Virginia.

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