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Page 33 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 02 no. 2 July, 1926

Part of Mountain Life and Work

July, 192E southern Mountain Life and Work Page 33 ity and magnitude. The people awoke one morning to find that the coal operators had come, like robins, in the night. Coal companies, railroad contractors and power companies were competing in the labor market. Wages soared from one to five .dollars, and teams from four to ten dollars a day. The back-country youth went home from pay day with more money than his father had seen in a year. People from the outside and from other mountain sections came pouring in. The population increased one hundred and thirty-three percent between the censuses. Railroad spurs were thrown up creeks and hollows. Laurel thickets were cleared away and mining towns built. The commissaries brought on stare furniture, wheat flour, ready-to-wear and phonographs. Jazz superseded the ballad, the "bob" claimed the time honored tightly drawn "top knot," and synthetic silk displaced the traditional calico. Hillside farms could not support the new standards of living. Men were compelled to seek the "public works." Women and children remained at home to run the farm. Innumerable families deserted their homes for the mining camps. A spirit hitherto unknown, and not always for the best, gripped the mountains. It became expedient to lock doors. The mountain man found that he could get paid extravagantly for everything he had and did. In too many instances the famous mountain hospitality became a happy memory. The religious problem was made more difficult, as old standards and ideals tumbled before new and imperfectly assimilated ones. Many good church members, caught in the swirl, became indifferent. There was a distressing slump in church and Sunday School attendance. Good old United States dollars were more tangible than treasures in heaven. The educational problem was vastly complicated. The teachers deserted the schools for more remunerative employment. Scores of schools were untaught for several years. There was, however, a tremendous new demand for education, and the churches and settlement schools found themselves swamped with applications. To make a long story short, Stuart Robin son, in an effort to meet the crisis, abandoned its meagre equipment and built a plant valued at $150,000. Mr. Cooper has been asked to tell you something of the programs by which this school seeks to contribute to the solution of the problems of an industrial section. STUART ROBINSON SCHOOL MR. W. L. COOPER, Principal Stuart Robinson School is the farthest back in the Cumberlands of any of the schools founded by Dr. E. 0. Guerrant. The population of this section was at one time purely a people who had never come in touch with industrial influences. They followed the one occupation of farming, in which it was up-hill work to make even a meager living. Within twelve years nearly one hundred coal mines have opened, which to-day are worked by this same people. The transition from a small wage of from fifty to seventy-five cents a day to $4, $5, and $10 came almost over night. The result was that a people who have had an inherent tendency toward educational and religious influences, but who have been neglected for a couple of centuries, have been almost swept off their feet by the spirit of materialism brought in by the great mining industry. Our great problem then is to redeem an innate tendency of a wonderful people toward education and religion and save them from materialism. The problem is a hard one and we almost feel that we are lost in trying to solve it. The following are some of the ways in which we are trying to do this: first, through the educational work of our grades and high school combined with manual work; second, through the social activities of the school, such as the honor club, literary clubs, dramatic work, athletics, etc.; third, through our health work, consisting of class instruction, the weighing of students every month, careful inspection of health conditions and personal conferences under the direction of our school nurse. Annually a clinic directed by Dr. E. P. Guerrant, Medical Advisor for the Mountain Work under the Presbyterian Board, is held at the school. Fourth, and most, important of all,

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