When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Italian Miner Profiles

Rinaldo (Joe) Fumagalli came to Canada in 1911 arriving in Hillcrest in April with $20 in his pockets. Italian miners and their families are included in some of the local histories produced by Alberta communities either before the Province's 75th anniversary in 1980 or after.

The oral history interviews featured are part of two projects undertaken in Edmonton—the first by the Dante Alighieri Society and the second by the Italians Settle in Edmonton Society.

The Dante Alighieri Oral History Project was initiated in 1973 by Sabatino Roncucci, a founder of the Dante Alighieri Society, for the purpose of documenting immigration history so that it could be shared not only with the Italian community but also the community at large.

The Italians Settle in Edmonton Project in 1983 was a 25th anniversary project of the Santa Maria Goretti Parish. A Society was set up and a committee struck to undertake the research. The President of the Society was Frank Sdao and the research was led by Dr. Adriana Albi Davies. A commemorative booklet was produced.

The interviews are interesting for the wealth of information that they reveal about the individuals and their personal and working lives. As well, the fact that the majority were interviewed in Edmonton demonstrates that, when the mines closed or miners retired, they frequently moved to larger centres with established Italian communities.

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