MA (Master of Arts)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Emmett M. Essin III, Elwood D. Watson
The economy and population of McDowell County, West Virginia, drastically decreased between 1950 and 1970. The increased reliance of the coal industry, McDowell County's primary industry, on labor saving machinery resulted in a loss of employment opportunities. This study seeks to investigate the reasons for the reliance on coal and the results of the mechanization movement in the coal industry on McDowell County. Using production and employment data of two representative McDowell County coal companies, it is clear that the introduction of continuous mining machines, which combined the cutting and loading of coal into one step, allowed companies to mine more coal with fewer workers. Because the economy of McDowell County was so coal-intensive, the increased unemployment caused by mechanization forced many miners to migrate to such midwestern industrial centers as Cleveland or Columbus.
Thesis - Open Access
Myers, Mark, "Coal Mechanization and Migration from McDowell County, West Virginia, 1932-1970." (2001). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 116. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/116
Copyright by the authors.