The 400 Years of African American History Commission (400YAAHC) has announced the release of its latest episode of the 400 HOUR television program, titled “Black Coal Miners of Appalachia.” The episode, which will premiere on May 15, 2023, at 7 p.m. EST, is part of the commission’s efforts to promote the contributions African Americans have made to this country.
The program will look at the history of African Americans who worked in the coal mines, highlighting the sacrifices they made to help build the country’s electricity industry. The program will also feature former coal miners diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), commonly known as “black lung disease,” or progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), a late-stage chronic form of CWP.
Commissioner Ron Carson, founder of the Black Lung Disease program, emphasized the importance of highlighting the contributions and sacrifices of African American coal miners. “Mining disasters get monuments; black lung deaths get tombstones,” said Carson. “It is important to highlight that the electricity we sustain even today was built on the hard work and health sacrifices of so many African Americans.”
The 400 HOUR program aims to uncover the past to help illuminate a time many would like to forget. The commission is grateful for all the experts who have contributed to this important episode, including Dr. David Blackely, an epidemiologist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); Dr. William Turner, author of “The Harlan Renaissance: Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns; and Howard Berkes, NPR reporter and co-producer of Coal’s Deadly Dust.
The program will air on www.400yaahc.gov and on Facebook @400YAAHC. Don’t miss this informative and eye-opening episode of the 400 HOUR program.