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Much has been written on union organizers' bitter struggle to establish collective bargaining in the coal mines of central and southern Appalachia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mine operators regularly employed deprivation, intimidation, black and white strikebreakers, violence, and murder to enforce their will. Thus, one can imagine the enormity of the challenges facing an African American coal mine labor organizer during this era. Yet, this is the task Richard L. Davis took on "among his 'colored brothers'" in the "microregion known as the Little Cities of Black Diamonds," located in southeastern Ohio's Hocking River Valley (p. 1). As a founding member of and a delegate representing District 6 of the United Mine Workers (UMW), an organization that Davis believed "did more than any other to break the color line," Davis traveled throughout the contested coal-mining regions of southeastern Ohio, southern West Virginia, and Alabama to recruit miners to the group's cause.


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