"Sixteen Tons" is a digital archive that comparatively considers the lives of mineworkers and their communities in Kimberley, South Africa and Clifton-Morenci, Arizona at the turn of the twentieth century. Their stories provide a transnational approach to understanding how migrant workers construct notions of identity, community, nationalism, and solidarity in working environments.
This website serves as a digital component to my doctoral dissertation, "Sixteen Tons": Mineworkers and their Communities, 1880-1910, and includes many of the primary resources that I have collected in both the US and South Africa to write this narrative.
Please feel free to browse the archival materials within one of the collections, or learn more about my research by clicking on one of the exhibits.
An early digger shows his wife (background) a diamond he just discovered.
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The Kimberley Mine as it appeared in 2010. The original open mine was 240 meters deep. The mine opened in 1871 and operations ceased in 1914.
The De Beers Mine as it appeared in 2010. Although the original mine was over 250 meters deep, it was gradually filled back in after the mine closed…
A worker plays the imbila using materials he found in the compound during his free time.
A selection of letters written by William Eugene Brooks to his mother, Anna Brooks, during his time in Arizona Territory.
Brooks was born August 4,…