(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss, and Delegates Compton, Caputo, Hutchins, Johnson, Mahan, Marshall, McGraw, Susman and Thompson)

Proposing support for the recognition of John Henry as a real person whose contest with the steam drill and life continues today as a lasting legacy, and supporting the view that the John Henry legacy should be taught within history classes of West Virginia schools.

Whereas, There is historical evidence that supports the view that John Henry was in fact a real person; and
Whereas, John Henry was a black man, probably a former slave either from Virginia or North Carolina; and
Whereas, John Henry was between the ages of 30 and 35 when he came to Summers County, West Virginia, around 1870; and
Whereas, Many poor workers, mostly black, migrated to Summers County during this period to gain employment with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad for $1.25 a day; and
Whereas, John Henry was about six feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds; and
Whereas, John Henry was undoubtedly a Negro steel driver at the Big Bend Tunnel during this period; and
Whereas, The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad brought the Burleigh steam drill to the Big Bend Tunnel in 1870 because it was only one- third the cost of hand labor; and
Whereas, The steam drill had prior success against the sandstone of the Lewis Tunnel project, yet, after its contest with John Henry at the Big Bend Tunnel, Chesapeake and Ohio concluded that the Burleigh steam drill was not suitable for the hard, brittle red shale of Big Bend Mountain; and
Whereas, John Henry competed against the Burleigh steam drill at the east end of the tunnel under the direction of Chesapeake and Ohio's Foreman Steele; and
Whereas, John Henry drove 14 feet of steel to the steam drill's nine in about one hour partly as a result of the steam drill's inability to penetrate the red shale; and
Whereas, John Henry won $100 for his exploits against the company's steam drill and the use of the drill was discontinued; and
Whereas, John Henry's success against the company's steam drill made him a living legend in the workingmen's camp; and
Whereas, John Henry's legend continues today and his story represents one of the most enduring among the black community; and
Whereas, John Henry's statue is erected at the east end of the Big Bend Tunnel honoring all working men and women of this State; and
Whereas, Summers County celebrates the life and legacy of this story through the annual John Henry Days celebration at Talcott; and
Whereas, John Henry reminds us that technology and industrial machines can never replace the heart and soul of all working men and women; and
Whereas, February marks the annual occasion of celebrating Black History Month; and
Whereas, John Henry should be recognized as representing the best values of all West Virginia workers; and
Whereas, John Henry is a source of pride for the African- American community in West Virginia and among the residents of Summers County; therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Delegates:
That this body recognizes the many contributions of John Henry to West Virginia, to African-American citizens, and to all hard working men and women of this State; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the teaching of John Henry and his contest with the Chesapeake and Ohio's steam drill should be taught in the history classes of West Virginia schools; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk is hereby directed to forward a copy of this resolution to the Cabinet Secretary of Education and the Arts.