Huntington, WV Black History

Jimmy Hale

Manager of Train Control/CSX

James “Jimmy” Hale is a lifelong resident of Cabell County. He attended Barnett Nursery School and was one of the first Black students to attend Simms Elementary School. He attended Lincoln Junior High School and graduated from Huntington High School.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from West Virginia State College. He worked for United Fuel Gas Co. at Union Carbide, the Ashland Refinery in Kentucky and Texaco in California. He returned to Huntington and began working as a signalman for CSX. At the time of his retirement in 2008, he was manager of train control for CSX.

Hale has served the Huntington and Fairfield communities in many capacities – mentor, author, historian and cecturer. He worked for the preservation of the Polley Children’s Emancipation and ending the longest-running fugitive slave case, which lasted 162 years. In his historical capacity, he researched the history of the Macedonia Church in Burlington, Ohio, and the many churches that were birthed from Macedonia. He received the 2022 Hero of History Award from the State of West Virginia Historic Society for teaching children their origins in West Virginia history. He is the author of The Long Road to Freedom: The Story of the Enslaved Polley Children, and is working on a second edition.

Hale works with the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington, and is a past president of Little League 4 and the Lincoln-Oley Youth Football League. He is affiliated with the Maddie Carroll House and is a board member of the Guyandotte Civil War Days. He is a member of Positive Force, Inc. and MEGA, Inc.


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