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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[WV] Hawk's Nest Tunnel Tragedy

I didn't see a reference to this on the site. This is something to think about when we can't "find" people. In March of 1930, Rinehart and Dennis of Charlottesville, VA began a project that included creating a three-mile tunnel through Gauley Mountain.

With a 2 year deadline they hired scores of workers. Mostly black and from the South. Because the tunnel was bored through silica-bearing sandstone, many workers contracted silicosis, a respiratory ailment caused by inhaling powdery particles of the rock.

By completion of the tunnel possibly 764 men had died with about 75 percent of those being African American.

Because of segregation laws they could not be buried in white cemeteries and there weren't any black ones nearby.

So where did they bury them?

Read the article
http://www.wvgazette.com/News/200802230569

Also check here for a short video clip
http://www.wvgazette.com/News/200802230569

More info at National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov/neri/historyculture/red-ash-rush-run-layland-and-the-hawks-nest-tunnel-incident.htm

This statement is on the page
"The mystery of the Hawks Nest tragedy is the uncertainty of its final results. The companies involved never acknowledged responsibility, or provided information to help account for the total number of people who died or were disabled by the tunnels construction. The estimates for deaths from this tragedy range from 700 to 2000, with several thousand more sick and disabled"


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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