HILLARY SET TO DESTROY LIVES Of Proud, Hard-Working, Black Coal Miners To Satisfy Mostly White Environmental Activists [VIDEO]

Mike Brooks, 59, and his daughter, Asia, 7, wait for a ride to church Sunday morning. Brooks worked for 13 years at a coal mine before he was laid off. He is raising Asia on his own. She wants to be a cheerleader, or maybe a doctor or nurse, when she grows up.Roger May for Al Jazeera America

Stealing Jobs From Minorities To Satisfy White Environmentalists Is The Worst Kind Of Racism…

It’s always about the money for Hillary. A University of Michigan survey in May found that leaders of environmental groups are overwhelmingly white males, with ethnic minorities occupying fewer than 12% of leadership positions.

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The environmental groups that are calling for sweeping changes to the economy – moving away from oil and coal to carbon-free sources of energy – seem incapable of making a transition themselves. These almost exclusively white groups are helping to fund Hillary’s campaign while stealing the livelihood of hard-working black American coal miners and Blacks in the communities who’s livelihood depends on the coal industry.

Take a look at the top executives at eight of the top 10 groups devoted to fighting that fight:

Sierra Club? White male.

Nature Conservancy? White male.

League of Conservation Voters? White male.

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World Wildlife Fund? White male.

Environmental Defense Fund? White male.

Friends of the Earth? White male.

National Audubon Society? White male.

Nature Conservancy? White male.

Yet, Hillary persists in her desire to shut down the coal industry that has given minorities a way to live a middle to upper middle-class lifestyle, as a way to satisfy her white donors and activists.

Watch here as coal miner confronts Hillary on her promise to shut down coal industry:

Snow falls over a line of coal-laden cars in West Virginia. In the 1930s, coal employed 55,000 black miners. In 2014, the most recent year for which Bureau of Labor Statistics data are available, only about 2,500 black people worked as coal miners — fewer than 3 percent of the total.Roger May for Al Jazeera America
Snow falls over a line of coal-laden cars in West Virginia. In the 1930s, coal employed 55,000 black miners. In 2014, the most recent year for which Bureau of Labor Statistics data are available, only about 2,500 black people worked as coal miners — fewer than 3 percent of the total.Roger May for Al Jazeera America

Coal was booming, and work was plentiful. By the 1930s, the industry employed 400,000 miners, 55,000 of whom were black. African Americans were restricted to more physically demanding positions requiring less skill, earning 30 percent less than whites. But their wages were still high by national standards: $118.30 per month, according to one 1929 survey. By contrast, a national study in 1939 later found that black men earned an average income of $460 per year.

By the 1950s, African Americans made up 24 percent of McDowell’s population, compared with 6 percent statewide. Locals came to refer to the area as “the Free State of McDowell.” Black doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs also flocked to the county, drawn to the promise of a better life. Even in the Jim Crow era, unions in the area were integrated, blacks in West Virginia enjoyed voting rights, and local political leadership included many people of color.

Mike Brooks, 59, and his daughter, Asia, 7, wait for a ride to church Sunday morning. Brooks worked for 13 years at a coal mine before he was laid off. He is raising Asia on his own. She wants to be a cheerleader, or maybe a doctor or nurse, when she grows up.Roger May for Al Jazeera America
Mike Brooks, 59, and his daughter, Asia, 7, wait for a ride to church Sunday morning. Brooks worked for 13 years at a coal mine before he was laid off. He is raising Asia on his own. She wants to be a cheerleader, or maybe a doctor or nurse, when she grows up.Roger May for Al Jazeera America

“Everybody had money,” says Clif Moore, a current state delegate for McDowell who was born in the county in 1949. “It was sort of like little New York. Like a little Manhattan. Everything was popping.”

But at mid-century, as machines began to take over the tasks of drilling and blasting coal and hauling it above ground, black miners were the first to lose their jobs. What had once been an all but certain gateway to the middle class began to close. African Americans fled the industry at even higher rates than whites; by 1960, the share of black workers in coal shrank to 6.6 from 12 percent a decade earlier. In 2014, the most recent year for which Bureau of Labor Statistics data are available, only about 2,500 blacks worked as coal miners, less than 3 percent of the total.

Coal has seen booms and busts before, but for locals, this time feels different. Production in Appalachia fell last year by 13 percent (and 10 percent nationwide) as tougher environmental regulations and cheaper natural gas choked off demand for the highly polluting fossil fuel. Last month, the Obama administration announced a moratorium on new coal leases on public lands. Many of the area’s mines have closed. Shops are often empty; drug use is rampant. McDowell is now West Virginia’s poorest county.

Still, families who’ve lived here for generations say they’re reluctant to leave. They praise the region’s physical beauty, close-knit family life and friendly Southern manners. “It’s a different kind of black folk here. … They dress differently, they talk differently, they carry themselves differently. They have a little arrogance about them,” says Moore with a grin.

Wade, like others here, harbors particular resentment for the Obama administration. “He hasn’t done anything for us,” says the 88-year-old, leaning back on a couch in his living room overlooking the mountains. “If he were running again, I just couldn’t vote for him. And I’ve been a Democrat my whole life.”

When Wade first started in the mines, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. It was a dangerous gig, but Wade didn’t worry much about safety, even after his brother nearly died in a motor accident underground and his father lost an eye in a roof collapse. Wade says he didn’t witness much discrimination, either. “I had some of the nicest white friends that you would ever want to meet.”

He got involved in the mine’s union, serving as president, and later took a job with the United Mine Workers of America. From 2005 to 2011, after his retirement, he also served as mayor of Keystone. But while he cared about local politics, his heart was in the mines. Even today, Wade drives the 30 minutes to the union offices once a week just to say hello.

Jeremy McMillian

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For Jeremy McMillian, 25, working in the mines was difficult at first. He was one of just 13 black employees among roughly 400 at the Pinnacle Mine in Pineville, West Virginia, he says. Occasionally, people directed racial slurs his way, but more often, they simply ignored him. “People not talking to you, just walking by you like you’re invisible,” says McMillian. “It’s been days I wanted to snap, go crazy. They’ll push your buttons.”

But over five years of running a coal buggy in and out of the mine, he gradually grew close to some colleagues. “I can’t blame them. Their parents taught them that.”

McMillian never thought he’d be a coal miner. His father was a cop, and his stepdad, who raised him, owned a roofing business. No one in high school had ambitions to work in the mines unless their fathers did, so McMillian never expected to end up there. In fact, he was afraid of the mines. He’d heard of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, more commonly known as black lung. (A recent report found that after near eradication 15 years ago, black lung has resurged as coal miners work longer hours, often in dirtier conditions.) And he didn’t think it was a profession welcome to black people. So after high school, he found a job as a mechanic.

But when a father of a friend, a white man who’d worked in the mines for 32 years, told him he could earn six figures as a coal miner, McMillian signed on. His health concerns haven’t evaporated, though.

“You can make $100,00 a year,” he says. “They pay you that much because it’s a dangerous job.” Each time a shift of workers prepares to go underground, he says, they pray together. “All I can do and pray [is that] it ain’t my last day in the mines.”

His wife, a cheerleading coach at the local high school, is ready for him to quit. But there aren’t many other jobs available. He has two children to provide for — a 7-year-old daughter and 7-month-old girl. He’s studying for his roofing license so he can take over his stepfather’s business one day. But he plans to keep working in coal as long as it’s viable.

That may not be long. In October, his employer, Cliffs Natural Resources, announced it was laying off more than 200 people — roughly half its staff — at the Pinnacle Mine. McMillian kept his job, but his overtime hours were capped, costing him about $2,300 a month, he says. He was relieved, though, to still have a job.

McMillian says he’s frustrated that so many national politicians seem to be turning against coal. “We don’t like Obama ’cause he don’t like us,” he says. Instead, he may vote for Donald Trump: “He talk a good game,” McMillian says. “We’ll see if he stick to it. I mean, who wouldn’t want to pay less taxes?” He says he pays up to $2,400 a month in state and federal taxes on his monthly salary, which ranges from $4,000 to $4,500, depending on his hours.

Two days before New Year’s, McMillian was laid off. But as he was making plans to start a job as a truck driver hauling cars and heavy equipment cross-country, he was called back to the mines. He’s happy to be back at work, for now. But he imagines he’ll soon have to give up coal for trucking.

Janice Martin

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With her long, black dreadlocks; warm smile; and Trinidadian accent, Janice Martin, 62, doesn’t look or sound like a typical coal miner. She arrived in McDowell County in the late 1970s when her then-husband returned to his home state to find work in the lucrative coal industry.

Following her mother’s counsel, Martin searched for a job too. The mines seemed an obvious place to look. But she was shut out. “They said women were not allowed in the coal mines because they thought it was bad luck,” says Martin. But a few years later, after equal opportunity laws forced the mines to hire women, she tried again. This time she was successful and soon was one of the first five women hired at U.S. Steel Co. Mine Number 9 in Gary, West Virginia.

At Mine 9, Martin was a mason. She laid blocks and built stoppings to aid air ventilation for $10 an hour, a good salary for a man or woman. She didn’t mind the work, but the male-dominated culture could be demoralizing. “They cuss, and they make dirty jokes, and they make women jokes, and they make black jokes, and they make Polish jokes. I mean, that’s how life is, and you have to get used to it.” But none of the jokes were personal, Martin says, and she never felt disrespected.Nearly 40 years later, she’s still employed in the coal industry, as the only female (or African-American) mine inspector for the state of West Virginia, covering McDowell and a few other counties. She loves her work but believes even bigger job losses are about to hit. “These communities are dying — slowly,” she says. “People are moving out of these areas, and they aren’t coming back.”

As she drives through McDowell in her beige GMC truck, the Trinidadian flag flying from the mirror, she points with sadness and frustration to the retail stores and government buildings that have shut down in recent years — cleaners, banks, grocery stories, a school. The industry’s decline is also hitting her at home. Martin once hoped her 19-year-old daughter, Jazzlee, would work in the mines, but instead she’s studying to be a welder. “I raised her that she was going to be in the mines, but the mines dropped drastically; there is no future in mining now.”

Via: Al Jazeera America


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