Nation: Decision Time in Oceana

If any coal-mining town seemed ripe for violence, it was Oceana, W. Va., a scraggly strip of forlorn-looking buildings lining a potholed main street and set between two brown mountains in the Appalachian foothills. Once a brawling town that sprouted no fewer than 37 bars during a mining and railroad boom in the early 1940s, Oceana (pop. 1,580) is one of the few communities in which the miners voted to accept the latest proposed contract and go back to work. Although they are members of U.M.W. District 17, one of the union's most militant, they voted contrary to their brothers on...

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