Chapter Three introduces the children of the first generation of migrants—the coal miners’ daughters and sons. Through their childhood memories of Harlan County, Kentucky, this chapter brings the reader behind the veil of the color line and situates the reader in the heart of the black community. What was it like growing up in a company-owned coal-mining town in the early half of the twentieth century? Further, what was it like doing so while black? Drawing heavily on oral history interview data, this chapter offers a close, personal account of the cultural systems—such as family, gender, religion, play, aesthetics, and traditions—that structured the black social world in pre-Civil Rights era eastern Kentucky.
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