|Northport Creek does NOT stink!|
To reach the coal seams now, a bulldozer strips the earth from the seam…. Power shovels scoop up the coal that lies exposed. Augers … bore into the mountain to bring out the remainder of the seam….
The resulting tons of waste — earth, slate, and slag — are hurled over the mountainside in an orgy of monstrous ruin. Sulfur, associated with coal-bearing formations, enters the streams, and a solution of sulfuric acid results. This silt washes down the mountainsides to fill the stream beds, and during heavy rains the valleys act as huge funnels, hurling the unchecked waters along to inundate town after town.
On Stinking Creek there are no muggings, robberies, stabbings, rapes. Yet every boy carries a pocket knife — not as a weapon, but as a symbol of responsible manhood. On Stinking Creek you can leave your car unlocked with its load of cameras, typewriter, and personal belongings without fear. Where else can you do this?
The crowds came early. They stood on a rocky point up on the road and looked solemnly down at the ancient school; they gathered in knots in the few shady places down by the creek and stared up at the school…
…Democrats and Republicans alike were determined that the fiasco of four years ago would not be repeated. In that earlier election, Democrats were elected, then unseated after a court battle. It all came about over a Kentucky law that decrees that voters who cannot read and who require assistance to flip the levers of the voting machine must sign an oath that “by inability to read English … he is unable to vote without assistance.”
Voter after voter cautiously approached the door, as though fully expecting to be turned away. Every eye was on that door, and each voter came out into the blazing glare of the sun and the more penetrating glare of his fellow citizens. And each voter shielded his own reactions from this intense scrutiny with an expressionless mask he draws over his face at such times.
The linking of the ability to read and the right to vote is an annoyance of great proportion to the people of Stinking Creek. The ability to read has little to do with a man’s ability to fell a tree, move a stone, or decide whom he wants to dabble in the public funds as his duly elected servant.