Paul H. Rakes he human drama conveyed by continuous televised coverage of the Sago mine disaster in January 2006 may have seemed a novel occurrence to a much younger generation of West Virginians. Yet, in reality, those who watched much of the twenty-four-hour coverage of events at Sago may have found themselves virtually participating in a historical pattern of emotional trauma all too common among earlier coalfield generations. Tearful families gathered in crowds near a mine awaiting news regarding missing loved ones underground represented a scenario played out all too often in coal industry history. Before 1969, death and injury in the mines had been so frequent that it became part of the cultural thinking of coal communities. Historically, residents of coal mining areas knew the risks and realities of the coal mining work environment. Stories of men killed in roof falls, crushed by machinery, or trapped after massive explosions remained a part of the folklore as well as contemporary events. In fact, most miners died or received injuries not in the more publicized disasters, but in individual mishaps. These day-to-day accidents coupled with the cycle of disasters provided the basis for the formation of a subculture of
West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Aug 9, 2008
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