What Is the Future of Black Appalachia?

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On a warm July day, Ron and Jill Carson sat in a former one-room schoolhouse in Pennington Gap, Va., that until 1965 was the only primary school in town for Black children. The first seven years of Mr. Carson’s education took place in that building, which was built by his great-great-grandmother in 1939.

Many years after it quit serving as a schoolhouse, and with the building still in the family, the…

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