Dare we compare mining to slavery? In a way, yes. Although miners were not physically owned, they were mentally owned by their work. Livelihoods were owned by the company store—which was detrimental both emotionally and psychologically—making life difficult for not just the miners but their families, too.
Many immigrants who came to America were forced to leave their homelands, seeking a means to survive in the new world. The American Dream promised a life of freedom—but was that really true for immigrants who became miners? Mining was different from the work they were accustomed to, but immigrants thought it had to be better than what they left behind.
Economically, though, they were blind. Immigrants were paid little for dangerous work, but they endured. In A Miner’s Family Life, author Billy Ray Bibb tells the story of his life and his family history. He comes from a long line of West Virginian coal miners so he knows the true story. This is dedicated to all miners, including the souls of those who suffered in body, mind, and spirit.