QWhat do you want readers to know about the Hawk's Nest Tunnel disaster?
AThat it happened at all, for one thing. The historical amnesia surrounding the event has been powerful, and suppressive of the truth of what happened and what the personal consequences were for victims’ families. I’m hoping readers take away a deeper, more three-dimensional knowledge of the people, places, and time — I always strive to bring history alive in people’s minds, lift it off the page, intellectually and emotionally.I also want them to understand that the mass killing at Hawk’s Nest was only possible because of white supremacy and racist beliefs. This often gets clouded over in historical accounts, but it is important to keep it at the center of our understanding. I don’t think that Union Carbide and their contractor, Rinehart and Dennis, were intentionally trying to exterminate black people; it was more subtle than that. Racism played into the inhumane treatment of workers during their lives. And racism allowed their deaths to be discounted, ignored and written off.
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