If coal is indeed phased out, it will mark the end of what had been a staple of the American economy.
Industries come and go, but for states in the Midwest and Appalachia, coal has been instrumental in shaping local fortunes for much of the 20th century.
And nationwide, coal employed just as many people as the automobile industry until after World War II.
We dipped into the Library of Congress’ vast image database to take a look at America’s golden age of coal.
We highlighted a couple salient elements: first, the work appears to have taken as much of a toll on miners’ families as themselves. The coal industry also appears to have been one of the more racially integrated lines of work in the 1930s. This phenomenon has been well documented but hasn’t gotten much attention.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.