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Mining and Union Songs in the Early 20th Century

Grade Level Grades 9-12


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In this lesson, created in partnership with the Association for Cultural Equity, students gain a deeper understanding of what life might have been like for a working class person during this period of American history by examining the songs and stories of Nimrod Workman. Born in 1895, Workman began working in the West Virginia coal mines at fourteen years old, and continued for 42 years. By analyzing Workman’s songs and personal stories, which were recorded by Alan Lomax in 1983, students gain a first-hand account of one of the most dangerous, violent, and least regulated industries in American history, and discover the relationships between labor, industry, and the government from the 1890s to the end of World War II.

View the lesson here



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