From the staff of the Lexington Herald-LeaderKentucky.comSubscribe to Heraldleaderphoto.comNews FeedSubscribe to Heraldleaderphoto.comComments

Lynch, Ky.

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The coal-camp community of Lynch, Ky. extends over 2 miles along KY 160 in eastern Harlan County. When formed in 1917 by U.S. Steel, the historic black community had over 10,000 residents and by 1919 was mining over one million tons of coal using the world’s largest coal tipple. The community, now home to less than 2000, continues to celebrate their coal and African American heritage by holding an annual Memorial Day reunion. Photographs by Charles Bertram.

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14 Responses to “Lynch, Ky.”
  1. Porter G. Peeples says:

    This is a very good article. Being an African American from Lynch is a source of great pride for not only myself but others as well.

  2. Brian K Jackson says:

    I would like to see more pictures of Lynch. Of all the streets and the people who lived there from 1974 to present. Photos of the people, sports (High School) from the Lynch Pirates, Lynch Bulldogs, Cumberland Redskins.

  3. Kelly says:

    I have seen alot of sign photos to set the ground work for a photo story…i am usually bored with them. Sure you can wait for nice light to take the photo, but i have seen it all done. I just want to say waiting for the bus to go by really made your lead photo interesting. I do wish we had seen actual people earlier in the series though. nice work!

  4. carol says:

    I was in 1961 in the then Catholic Hospital which I believe was in Lynch. I would enjoy more articles on Lynch, the Catholic Hospital and the history of Lynch. Are there any books in publication about Lynch’s history.

  5. Susan Feher says:

    I really enjoyed your article. I grew up in Lynch and went through the time you mention about integration of our schools. It’s interesting how I never realized what a negative affect integration played on so many people in the 60’s. I never witnessed that growing up in Lynch. It was nice for once to see a positive story about Eastern Kentucky.

  6. John Powell says:

    My father is from Lynch and came from a very large family (13 kids )we still have relatives there, I would be very interested in anyone knowing the Powell family to contact us in Lexington and would be very interested in a story about the Lynch Bulldog football team and their dynasty.

  7. Gene Blair says:

    The above text under this photo and the article associated with this photo written by Ms. Amy and photographed by her associate Charles Bertram about the so-called “black hamlet” of Lynch are both filled with factual errors. Lynch was not a “black hamlet”, there were not 10,000 blacks in this so-called “historic black community” and it was not a “social experiment” to bring blacks into the community to “see” or “prove” that they could work alongside other nationalities! Ms. Amy has been contacted by several former residents of Lynch that are fully aware of the factual history surrounding this coal camp in southeastern Kentucky. Ms. Amy refuses to accept, and the LHL obviously is not going to print a retraction of the errors contained in her article. Most of the information she offered was “adjusted” or “bent” to fit into the format that she was trying to meet for “Black History Month.” Newspaper editors should check the facts in articles written by staff before printing something that is obviously nothing more than an attempt to alter the history of the town to satisfy an agenda, Ms. Amy’s agenda. The houses shown in the picture with the school bus and the sign are not now or never have been occupied by black families. Ms. Amy should have asked her contact about that before she made her incorrect assumptions.

    And for all of the black folks out there who take pride in their hometown there are probably three times as many folks of other nationalities that lived in the same town at the same time that also take great pride in their hometown. It was, and is, OUR town, all of us, all races, all nationalities, not a specific “black hamlet” as Ms. Amy has tried to turn it into with her article. It was a town of cooperation that was mostly forced by the rules of the U. S. Steel Company and we all lived by the rules. If you screwed up you lost your job and your house . . . immediately. There was little leeway given to Africans or the many other nationalities. You walk the line or you leave, simple as that. No discrimination involved, just rules to work and live by. The marble memorial shown in one of the photos lists the miners who were killed in the mines from all walks of life. That marble slab is not a list of just black miners as Ms. Amy is trying to convey, it was a list of all the miners who were killed in the Lynch mines, without discrimination as to color since anyone who went into the mines into the coal dust were “blackface” after a few minutes of being underground, no matter what their color was immediately before entering the portal or after they had a bath in the bathhouse.

    I sent a letter to the editor concerning this article by Ms. Amy but due to the limited space allotted for comments on the editorial page the letter has not been published as far as I know . . . they didn’t even see fit to edit it to fit the format. As a matter of fact I suspect that this post will either not be allowed or will be removed by the staff at Ms. Amy’s request. I may be wrong about that but there is one thing that I am sure of, the e-mail list of all of the Lynch folks that I have in my computer received an unedited copy of the letter to the editor and they will also get a copy of the statement written here.

  8. Angela says:

    I don’t know much about the intergratioin of Lynch Schools, when I started school it was Black and White. However Lynch is one of the best places in the world to live with little or no crime, if the world mirrored itself after Lynch we would live in a better world.

    To Glen Blair all that lived in Lynch know that it was Black and White folks that made the town. I agree that other nationalities lived there but it was mostly Black and White that I remember. So to make a point about Lynch and why other nationalities have not taken upon themselves to write about Lynch as others have it’s their story, so to all those of nationalities and to you write your own memories of Lynch and allow those that have written theirs be their memories. Everyone has a story to tell so tell yours so that it will be in the lime-light.

  9. Angela says:

    I don’t know much about the intergration of Lynch Schools, when I started school it was Black and White. However Lynch is one of the best places in the world to live with little or no crime, if the world mirrored itself after Lynch we would live in a better world.

    To Glen Blair all that lived in Lynch know that it was Black and White folks that made the town. I agree that other nationalities lived there but it was mostly Black and White that I remember. So to make a point about Lynch and why other nationalities have not taken upon themselves to write about Lynch as others have it’s their story, so to all those of nationalities and to you write your own memories of Lynch and allow those that have written theirs be their memories. Everyone has a story to tell so tell yours so that it will be in the lime-light.

  10. Donna Campbell says:

    My Grandfather worked in the mines in Lynch. How did Lynch get it’s name? I’m afraid to ask being of African American descent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thomas Lynch was the first president of US Coal and Coke who founded the city. It was his namesake, no lynchings involved!

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