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Labor, Energy, Family

Here in the Global Studies Program at the University of Houston I am fortunate to co-teach the American Energy History course with one of the nation's leading energy historians, Joe Pratt. In the scope of the course we are discussiong the technical innovations and social impacts of coal, oil & gas, and renewables use from the mid 19th century to the present day.

Early in the course I shared the first picture below with the class. It is an image, from the 1880s or 1890s of my grandfather's grandfather, James Cox, working in a coal mine in western Pennsylvania or West Virginia. Eventually this Welsh immigrant's family would migrate further west to St. Louis where my grandfather worked for an automobile manufacturer. I am, of course, grateful he sent this picture to me along with an album of other great early family pictures.

A student in the class emailed me this morning with a fantastic family picture of his own. Below you can see his great-grandfather's brother working along with a few pioneers in the Mexia fields of Texas, which had an enormous boom in the early 1920s.



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