Black Gold Boom

Black Gold Boom: 'Past and Present'

Aug 6, 2014

Al Newman, Sr. lives near on Three Affiliated Tribes land near Mandaree, North Dakota. He’s a retired carpenter who has traded in his hammer for a paintbrush.

In recent years, Newman has painted on buffalo hides and metal, but his most recent work is an oil painting on canvas. It shows three Native men on horseback pointing at an oil derrick. He's titled the painting, which is displayed at the tribal council chambers, “Past and Present.”

Newman talked to Black Gold Boom’s Todd Melby about his work.

Black Gold Boom: The 'other' Hamm

Jul 29, 2014

Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm has made a name for himself in the Bakken. As CEO of Continental Resources, his company is the biggest oil producer in western North Dakota. But he’s not the only Hamm in town.

A man named Phil Hamm lived in Williston before the boom came to town. He stills lives there today. In this interview with Black Gold Boom’s Todd Melby, it’s clear he’s got something to say about it too.

Black Gold Boom: Peace and Quiet

Jul 1, 2014

Her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lived and worked on the same ranch in McKenzie County, North Dakota. And now she does.

Years ago, when oil company representatives first knocked on her door asking for permission to drill, she welcomed them. This resident, who asked that we not use her name, told Black Gold Boom’s Todd Melby how the disturbances and noise just kept coming.

To listen to other Black Gold Boom stories and watch an interactive documentary of the oil boom, go to .

Black Gold Boom: A Fresh Start

Oct 17, 2013

Like just about every other new worker in North Dakota oil country, Elsie Ejismekwu came here for the money. She’s earning it by working two jobs in the Watford City area. By day she’s a trucker and at night she’s a cabbie. Ejismekwu told Black Gold Boom reporter Todd Melby she likes both gigs and a few other things about western North Dakota.

That’s Elsie Ejismekwu, a trucker and cabbie in North Dakota’s oil patch. She spoke to Black Gold Boom reporter Todd Melby.

"Banquet West"

Nov 21, 2012

If you're hungry or lonely on a Sunday evening in Williston, First Lutheran Church is the place to be. Volunteers from churches and civic groups take turns cooking meals and providing fellowship to newcomers and those who have been in town for decades. Todd Melby and Diane Richard of Prairie Public’s Black Gold Boom oil series bring us this audio portrait.


That visit to First Lutheran Church in Williston was produced by Todd Melby and Diane Richard for the Black Gold Boom oil series. To see photos from the church supper, go to