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Crime History: Alabama mine explosion kills 122 convicts

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On this day, April 8, in 1911, a coal mine explosion in Littleton, Ala., claimed the lives of 128 men -- 122 of whom were convicts loaned from prisons. Of the prisoners killed at the Banner Coal Mine that day, all but five were black. Alabama's controversial convict-lease program was a profitable arrangement for the mining industry and the state. Mining accidents were common in Alabama, with...

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