WEST VIRGINIA COAL FESTIVAL PAGEANT - MADISON, WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia is the most important bituminous coal-producing State in the Union. It leads not only in annual production and in extent of reserves, but also in quality of coal produced. Investigations by the State geological survey indicate that the total coal resources, three or more feet in seam thickness and recoverable under present methods, originally amounted to about 50,000,000,000 tons.
—West Virginia, A Guide To the Mountain State (WPA, 1941)
Editor’s note: A worthy companion piece to this photo essay is Lauren’s “Better Boone" project from Boone County, WV (where the pageant takes place). She asked students at the Christian Faith School what they would like to see in their communities in the next 1-5 years. They wrote and used collage to respond. Answers included "More coal miners to get their jobs back," "Wireless internet service everywhere," "Domestic Violence for Teenage Girls Counsel,” and two requests for a Taco Bell.
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Lauren Schneiderman is a photographer and visual journalist. She hopes her stories can bridge acceptance and cultural understanding. Lauren resides in Washington, DC, but spends much of her free time in southern West Virginia. Follow her on Tumblr at laurenschneiderman.tumblr.com, find more of her work in coal country at livingcoal.com and check out her portfolio at laurenschneiderman.com.
My photographs from the West Virginia Coal Festival posted on The American Guide!! Check it out