Place:Keystone, McDowell, West Virginia, United States


Coordinates37.415°N 81.446°W
Located inMcDowell, West Virginia, United States
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Keystone is a town in McDowell County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 282 at the 2010 census. Keystone is one of several incorporated towns in West Virginia with an African-American majority, with 72 percent of the residents being black.

Larry Scott Deaner wrote about the historical geography of the African-American population of Keystone in his 2004 Master's thesis. Deaner calls Keystone the cultural capital of the "Free State of McDowell" - a term coined by Matthew Thomas Whittico, a local newspaper editor and community leader from Keystone in the early 20th century. Keystone possessed a unique combination of political, social, and economic characteristics that made it an attractive place for African-Americans to migrate to in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Keystone was founded in 1892 by the Keystone Coal & Coke Company. Keystone was then incorporated in 1909 by the Circuit Court of McDowell County. Its name is derived from the name of a coal and coke company operating at that point. The town was formerly known as Cassville.

Denise Giardina modeled the fictional town of Annadel in her novel Storming Heaven after Keystone.

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