The Anthracite region of Pennsylvania encompasses 13 counties in the northeast section of the state, which held nearly 90% of the global supply of anthracite coal. Almost all of the people who live here today were attracted directly or indirectly by the coal industry. The earliest Euro-American settlers in the region were farmers who, along with governments, supported the removal of the aboriginal Delaware People in the 18th century. Shortly thereafter, a coal industry developed, quickly and significantly changing regional and national landscapes. From the early 19th century, immigrant groups came primarily from Europe to mine coal and provide services to miners and mining companies. The region grew for over one and a half centuries. The Anthracite Heritage Museum tells the stories of the people who came here and established industries, communities, and shared cultures.
But there are other people in this region not well represented in the museum: groups who were here but are now gone, current groups that have been here from the beginning of the industry, and groups new to the region. They are each active community members, and are impacted by and have an impact on the other community groups and cultures. They are ethnic groups, religious groups, cultural groups, or groups linked by race, language, work, gender, or sexual orientation.
This project presents an opportunity for the museum to share the stories of people who were not the miners or directly engaged in anthracite production. These are the stories of people who were here to support and provide services to the broader community, descendant populations, and people who came here as the industry declined and new, smaller industries developed to take advantage of infrastructure and housing surpluses. We are all here because of the anthracite. We are all Anthracite.
We are Anthracite: New Voices of Anthracite Pennsylvania shares stories of new and long-standing communities outside of the coal community and under-represented by the museum.