‘Mom’ coal mine honored at Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Zora Stroud worked underground in coal mines for over 20 years. She got the nickname Fat Mum and Chocolate Mum because of the color of her skin and how she can lift anything men can.
Stroud is the first African-American woman to quit mining.
“It was a long time coming, I recognized all the men and I was the only woman to have worked underground with them in 20 years and they act like I haven’t worked with them. You know what I’m saying. So my daughter was like mom, we’re going to have to do something about it, ”Stroud said.
One day her daughter Diane Williams and her granddaughter went to the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley to show her how many family members were in the coal mines. She said there was no other woman pictured there.
Williams saw a photo of his grandfather and decided something needed to change. It was then that she contacted Leslie Baker.
“I thought it was time for me to talk to someone about the representation of women in coal miners, especially my mother who worked there for over 20 years. So that being said, I prepared a presentation, ”said Williams.
Zora said she was thrilled her family was doing this for her and for the number of people who came on this special day. Her grandson Jermaine Saunders says she deserves it.
“It’s definitely an honor that she left a legacy for a family and to know that she did things that made history,” said Jermaine Saunders.
Zora’s son Christopher Saunders said she was his role model and the reason he decided to work in the coal mines. He loves to see his mother happy, and he said he got to see him.
“I was very proud of my mother. My mother taught us to be men even though she was a woman. I respected my mother because she went out, worked and supported us, ”said Christopher Saunders.
Pay homage to a strong woman on Mother’s Day.