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Berea professor to represent Ky. at service honoring W.Va. miners

Dr. William H. Turner, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College, will represent Kentucky at the public memorial service this Sunday in Beckley, W. Va., honoring the 29 miners who lost their lives in the recent Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.

Dr. William Turner

Turner is representing the Commonwealth at the memorial service hosted by West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and first lady Gayle Manchin. The ceremony, which is free and open to all, is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will participate in the memorial service. President Obama will deliver the eulogy. The event will also include musical performances, prayers, and tributes and remarks from the clergy, Gov. Manchin and other dignitaries.

Dr. Turner is a sociologist and author of the book “Blacks in Appalachia” who has roots in Appalachia and a deep familiarity with coal mining. Turner grew up in the eastern Kentucky coal company town of Lynch in Harlan County. Both of Turner’s grandfathers were miners. His father, William Earl Turner, worked in the mines at Lynch for 44 years.

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