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Document Deep South. And back in the heart of Dixie. Story of progress documented with on the spot recordings by the radio broadcasting service extension division. University of Alabama. For the next 30 minutes you will make a transcribed trip. You will see the significance of a new industrial self changing self you will see how determined people are nature's plan into prosperity. That more than ever is making itself felt and our nation's economy.
Miner's lamp. Ladies and gentlemen this program this broadcast to follow originates in an actual coal mine. Three quarters of a mile below the surface of the earth in the depth of this mine you will wear a miner's helmet. It's lamp lights the path the southern coal industry has followed in recent years revealing the unusual fact that progress has been its downfall and its elevation. This is a coal mine. You stand and watch the converging lines of tractor Travice light and shadow to disappear behind some unpredictable then and this manmade cavern in from the
river you hear the rumbling echo of a one eyed dragon. The moment the press. Transported back time and space back to a room a simple room a few desks and you hear the voice of my superintendent how slogan is that America and South.
America say. We have to match. Number three goddess Alabama is a small mining town the foothills of the Appalachians. But for a population it could be Jenkins Kentucky like Bill Tennessee it wouldn't frame houses kept to come to the rolling hills under which flow the lifeblood of the community in Bain's a black bituminous coal. You're dressed in minus togs in preparation to going down. You listen as the superintendent points out your position on a wall map. We're rich which represents our operation. When we go down to number four track that.
Number. All right here our fifth man. I met undergrad. You remember to have what they call it a long open electric car used to transport the miners to and from the mines. The sun was shining brightly you remember. You don't want to be your own down the dumbest thing you want to do. Observe if you are nearing the bottom of the. Level of the American seam and that's the seam that you're mining right there is that and that's just it.
Operation number three my number from my angle so that opening this track to laugh at Dr. Jones was talking to Dr. Milton fi's Lize president of the Alabama Power Company in charge of coal mining operations. And the day was bright and the trees were budding and the mine entrance yon dark and forbidding. So you were to pass into this other world deep deep deep deep. Choice of doctor brings you back to reality.
You know there's no track in that and all the Polish picked up. Call on the chain which which are low in the bottom of the car which on a continuous miner is the days of the pick and shovel have sins past you find and we dwell in a day of modern improvements. The miracle of mechanization a continuous miner is operated by one man. It's a long low machine of many controlled squatting on tough farming like TAR's with deep tread it maneuvers into position
strikes out with it's a swordfish out a chain of teeth that churn at high speed chewing into the forward face of a mind repeating the poem having read this cutting his work back and forth across the face up and down from ceiling to floor. Water is great poetry because the coal is scooped up mechanically and transported to the loading station by conveyor belt. You see this happening assembly line. Fishing in the morning one of the most important. Yeah picnic. Now to say that it is worth it and if you know a lot about it we'll be back here and work
your magic and you'll end up a day at one point. You have to be there when I first began man back and then back to play the pictures of any major. Cricket they did that table and beat it at the end of the year. And. You didn't see the light of day week. When the machine starts Dr. Fried just used to the operator to come over
you can seem very well in the semi-darkness just a sharp bobbing beam of light from his minus lens. But as he comes closer as he squats down beside you you see behind the black all the grime a youthful face thirty thirty two perhaps and a pair of sharp alert eyes. His name is Baby Tatum. He's a native of Walker County Alabama. He tells you about his first experience with the continuous miner or what they call the hawk. Start back to your machine on a chip so leave it to day later that same machine. I want to the way I take them has lived near mine all of his life.
His father was a miner. And you wonder if it's true that this location of hauling has to be borne in a manner that otherwise you could never endure. You wonder too about the love of mine I must. I know. How long are you going but I do worry a bit myself. But the men don't believe you know I don't think too much about the sound. My arms been where he would want to do anything there. You've been working in America and he wouldn't be happy being in the. Mine. Now you follow mine once more in the background you hear the continuous mining hard fighting its way into the brittle
cold. And then just there is a sound assurance of the birth right of today's in my. Mind today is an art an art of efficiency. Safety first. Writers. Covering white looking material and yet rock distributed and rather heavy concentrations a small explosion propagating it rather makes the private party just like
we make you know at every turn every precaution can withstand modern machinery. Operator now writes underexpose will they keep the timbers out within a few feet of fame and he's always looking down 15 feet from the thing that especially important when you consider that almost 60 percent of which time coal mines a car would end Troutman have feet of that sort of like a mine of today and I'd say the way to a noble profession. A job where proficiency counts. The continuous miner the joint
loader the conveyor belt the electric locomotive all have taken coal mining out of the dark drudgery of the past. It's easy to see why men of the modern mind must be sharp alert and educated to modern methods. We're going to end the day of the mano with a strong back in the week. Mine's gone as a young man a graduate of a high school and who is taking this type of work he has to be a late 80 years strong physically it's a different kind of sanction. I mean they're Him are proud of him. But don't get the idea it's easy you can see that it isn't that it takes hard work. At an essential commodity in the production of coal is sweat and sometimes tears. I know now do what I do worry about
the way. I call my many. Crime. It's rich. Sometimes it's smart. Men and muscles in the sheet. It's science engineering geology chemistry mix. It's the art of underground survival efficiency. It's long winding corridors lined with tracks and electric wires. Night. In the. Dark. And it's communication with the outside and with each other. You are not in the forest that we have a phone on that moving apparatus as we have on our motives and the moron in charge of each locomotives as they operate on can operate at any level of the market. I also talked to the man who had charge of the dispatch of the call that might save an awful lot. We want to now that we were able to get along without
my mind. Well you're in the dispatcher's office now deep in the subterranean tunnel this underground office is making only furnished if you mess table was a bench and a loudspeaker. And. Also a chart and a telephone. Yeah. Oh oh. Well write it here an accurate up to the minute record of production is kept here each car of coal is tabulated and as you stand in the doorway just off the main line
you see and hear the coal filled cars rumbled by. 69 cars to a train. Nothing cold to load one and a half railroad cars. What is its ultimate destination. Where does it go and for what you use what does it mean to the south of the nation. Back to. Back would go as your mind to recall words and wisdom of a morning hour. You were in the main office of the Goddess mind you remember when Dr Jones asked Dr Pfizer about the importance of coal and you remember the answer. I think it's vital you know we're not here only by my do that about higher percentage of the total energy you know energy mental energy and gas and off.
95 percent if you have a mineral fuel loads left in there in the United States is co and we're going to rely more and more on not only energy required for example generate power to do work. For many of our basic chemical Afterall there's only one difference between the chemistry of the plutonium and the chemistry of oil and that is the difference in the amount of hydrogen in the clothing as compared to coal or so we can do the same thing from the chemical sand bar and adding hydrogen. Processing on a hydrogen nation adding hydrogen to go. Today there are experiments that are bringing coal into the limelight again in West Virginia successful research reveals a valuable future of all coal in the chemical field and here in goddess Alabama a fortune has been invested in an optimistic venture
called gasification. This experiment that is going on the Gorgon is not the first of its kind but it is very near the for its primary purpose is related to cut down the cost of extracting making use of the heat value Co. By burning it partially in the mine instead of mining it carrying it to the place where it's going to be used and burning it completely there. The method of carrying this out is rather interesting. You drill a hole from the surface of the ground to the drill to hold at some considerable distance apart measured in hundreds of yards. And then you send a current of electricity good healthy one through an electrode in
one hole and it travels through the code to a similar electrode in the other hole. And in doing so since Coal is not a particularly good conductor of electricity at the co-op and essentially cooks it and then cooking at of course the coal breaks up and you have after that a good passage so quick there are any gas can travel between the two. Oh that's a preliminary stage. Then the next stage is to pump into one of these holes after taking the electrode of electrodes of two pumps and to one of these holes either air ohm or air on oxygen or air and steam or the monarchy or even a mixture of all three depending upon what you're trying to do and also the route which one will be ultimately used will depend to some extent them upon what they learn in these experiments.
But the net result of all at him is to burn the coal partially. Forget the word partially to burn the coal Caerphilly in the ground and the result of that part of burning is to give you again which comes out of the other hole and which is in Flambeau which will burn out lots of content and can be used pumped over directly and burnt under boilers to produce power. Or if you use lots of steam and oxygen you may get a gas out of this second hole which will be used can be used as a synthesis gas that is it can be used as a starting point for the manufacture of all sorts of interesting complex chemical sub. This may be one of the ways of using or making valor arising using CO which would otherwise be
too expensive which would not be suitable for mining by conventional means. Sometimes we have coal seam which are full of partings of slate and so on. They would be too expensive to mine and then separate out the slate and sometimes we have coal seam which instead of being nice and flat like a one up a garden are highly and plain and very difficult to mine in the ordinary way. It is very likely I think that this particular process will be used to make that kind of coal coal in seem to that can make it valuable rather than to be used in on a flat seam with big things underway right as the deep south stand in the cold picture. I've had something for a while. 25 something over 20 percent of all of the proven reserves of polling in the States.
I mean Southern states more than 78 million tons of coal of mind each year in Kentucky alone. Virginia produces 17 million over Alabama more than 14 million tons. Then those Tennessee in Arkansas are all contributing greatly to a U.S. total of five and I have million tonnes of coal a vital gesture in the production and economic superiority of our nation. But is it so vital in the past decade demand for coal has dropped only recently the future for coal look black indeed. And no pun intended. But coal had begun to feel the effects of competitive fuels especially here in the south where the petroleum industry had spread to new dimensions of the nation's network of railroads the old fashioned coal heating our own horse was replaced by sleek streamlined diesel engines. One example of how cold just a few years ago was being outdated and
replaced. Is coal considered so vital why are mines like this one in which you are visiting today working round the clock to surface the glistening black lumps that almost frantic speed. Well you visit the United States Bureau of Mines. You talk with Mr. BW Dandridge a coal expert to the southeast industry. And you discover the revelation that you are in the midst of a wonderful South wide revolution. I giant economic upheaval that is more violent in its change here in the south that anywhere in the country. The reason is simple enough. Increased demands for power brought about by the recent and rapid industrialization of the South. The entrance of huge power absorbing plants such as the atomic energy projects and rural electrification throughout Dixie. That's why coal mines are today doing overtime. The TVA which has always depended on water avoids source of power is turning to steam
plants and to coal. Mr. Ganns road estimates of the TVA will need 10 million additional tons of coal that in years to come just one installation will draw heavily upon the supply of coal in Alabama and Tennessee and even reach out to the vast reserves of Kentucky and Virginia for progress. But tomorrow's production of a fine a future. That's the destination of this rumbling dragon cars that mark a portion of the day's production. It'll. Be. Where you visited an actual coal mine. You've been three quarters of a mile in the bowels of the earth you've seen cause married men who make their livelihood being human moles powering
their way deeper and deeper into this strata of wealth and now as you move toward the Jeep that will take you to the entrance into daylight your miner's lamp throws a small splodge of light at your feet. Small but revealing. And you think to yourself oh my knowledge isn't all my understanding is greater having seen the revealing elements of an on the scene achievement on the other hand if you're a woman that you haven't been in our party or you see a mind is many things and superstition plays its role. And also no women allow that sort of bad luck. Ever woman to come down minus a somebody gets here. I don't know that's what they say.
This has been Program 6 document deep self a series of actuality documentaries depicting the increasing importance of the South and the economic development of our nation. This week the miner's lamp some light on an economic revolution in the southern coal industry. The narrator was Roald Whittaker document Deep South is written and produced by Leroy Bannerman with Dr. Walter B Jones as a senior consultant.
Document: Deep South
Miner's lamp
Producing Organization
University of Alabama
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Recordings made three-quarters of a mile below the surface relate a story of grime and sweat and courage -- the paradox where progress meant the downfall of the Southern coal industry.
Other Description
A series of documentaries depicting the increasing importance of the South in the economic development of the United States. Narrated by Walt Whitaker, written and produced by Leroy Bannerman, with Dr. Walter B. Jones as senior consultant.
Broadcast Date
Coal--United States.
Media type
Embed Code
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Advisor: Jones, Walter B. (Walter Bryan), 1895-1977
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Narrator: Whitaker, Walter
Producer: Bannerman, Leroy
Producing Organization: University of Alabama
Writer: Bannerman, Leroy
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-15-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:38
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Chicago: “Document: Deep South; Miner's lamp,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021,
MLA: “Document: Deep South; Miner's lamp.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <>.
APA: Document: Deep South; Miner's lamp. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from