Lincoln County Racism

An excerpt from the eventual “The Soviet Union and Lincoln County USA”

I was most proud of Lincoln County people when Jeff’s two Raider football coaches, Moe Mosteller and Eugene Estep, stopped by our house on Sugar Tree Creek on a Saturday night with a six pack of beer. They showed no look of surprise when they were introduced to our guests, Joan and Chappell Hayes.
Joan was under five feet tall with platinum blond hair and a lovely build. Chappell was heavily bearded and African-American. Things went so well one of the coaches jumped in his pickup, drove to the carry out and bought another sixpack. Good feelings prevailed.
On Monday Joan and Chappell went with us to Jeff’s Lincoln Raider football and Elizabeth’s cheerleader practice. Eugene and Moe walked over to Chappell and shook his hand and talked for awhile. It was a cue. Teenagers surrounded Chappell and find out all they could about him.
Several of the Lincoln Raider parents made Joan and Chappell feel welcome and brought them cokes and asked what they wanted on their hotdogs. I was proud of Lincoln County people that day because they had an unearned reputation for racism.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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