Frank Brooks


Mary J. Brooks



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Frank Brooks was born in Fayette County, WV, but grew up in Carter County, KY, in the early 1900s. He attended a one room school house through the third grade. Mr. Brooks began working in coal mines with his father in Borderland, WV, when he was 13 years old. In the audio clip provided, he discusses his first time in a coal mine. He focuses on how he tried to appear bigger than he was in order to be able to work. In his interview, Mr. Brooks compares and contrasts the labor conditions in the mines before and after unionization. He discusses the mental and physical demands of being a coal miner. He describes using script in the company store and focuses on receiving a ‘red card’ that barred him from buying groceries. Mr. Brooks also focuses on his wages while working in the mines and discusses mine strikes in the 1940s.

Publication Date

Fall 11-3-1973




Coal mines and mining, Company stores, Company script, Unions, Depression Era (1929-1941), Community Life


Appalachian Studies | Cultural History | Labor History | Labor Relations | Mental and Social Health | Oral History | Social History | Unions | United States History

Library of Congress Subjects

Community life -- West Virginia -- Oral histories. Coal miners -- West Virginia -- Oral histories. Depression -- 1929 -- United States -- Oral histories. Rural schools -- West Virginia -- Oral histories. Brooks, Frank, -- Autobiography.


Interview is included in the Marshall University Oral History Collection. The index number is OH64-56. This interview was conducted by Patricia Clark. MDS exhibit prepared by Jennifer Gehringer, August, 2014.


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Streaming Media

Oral History Interview: Frank Brooks