Monday, July 19, 2010

The Soul of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds

by Manuel Ayala


Nelsonville, Haydenville, Shawnee, Straitsville, Corning…so many places that have existed for many decades, but for me they are new, just discovered, as part of the 'Little Cities of Black Diamonds' tour which was a fascinating experience.

When I learned the history of that region, the origins of the mineral extraction, the economic success, the braveness of the people, and the devotion to their religion and for the work, I could understand why all those places have the magical touch of the human being.

Being there you can still feel the presence of those men, working hard day by day with the coal, iron ore, clay…trying to take the best of the land to earn their salaries and have a better life with their families, most of them from another countries looking for the dignity of life.

But that experience was not completely new for me, it made me think of my grandfather. He was also an immigrant that came to this country and worked in the steel industry for almost four decades… years of hard work and sacrifice to help his family that stayed in México.

The souls of those miners still remain in the streets of the little cities. They refused to go to some other place, maybe because the earth that they worked for many years needs their presence to keep those places as beautiful as they are.

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