A coal miner and his family. African Americans were recruited and imported from across the country to help address the shortage of miners in central Appalachia. Many came from deep south Alabama where they were experienced in coal mining but most came inexperienced off the farms of the upper south. The N&W and other railroads that crossed Virginia and the Carolina’s were major conduits. Though most were lured with promises of good jobs and high wages, many were shanghaied.