This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

In 2009, trains arrived in Uniontown, Alabama, carrying 4 million tons of coal ash, the toxic residue from burning coal. The ash was recovered from a spill in Kingston, Tennessee — a town that is more than 90 percent white — and brought to a new landfill less than a mile from the residential part of Uniontown, which is 90 percent black. Soon, Uniontown residents began reporting breathing problems, rashes, nausea, nosebleeds, and more.

“The smell, the pollution, and the fear affect all aspects of life — whether we can eat from our gardens, hang our clothes, or spend time outside,” resident Esther Calhoun later said.