The strikers won, but only after 13 months and the murder of a young miner, Lawrence Jones, age 22. 13. Before retiring, he was vice president of the Louisville Chemical Company. Copyright © 2012-2018 Roger May unless otherwise noted. Our questions are simple: what did Bernie accomplish, why did he fail, what is his legacy, and how should we continue the struggle for democratic socialism? The death shocked the community and received widespread attention throughout the nation. All rights reserved. Again, Harlan County took center stage, this time at the Brookside Mine — exposing, again, the poverty of coal country, as well as the vicious indifference to life of the owners, in this case Duke Power. Back in Los Angeles in late 1973, his conversation with the National Lawyer’s Guild connected him to Charleston, West Virginia. He is editor of E.P. . Harlan County, Kentucky: Family living upstairs from the Blevins, Everts, Kentucky. By the end of the year, the UMWA was once again the nation’s largest union; it would go on to bankroll the organizing of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and the labor upsurge of the ’30s. Congress then passed a federal bill that assisted all afflicted miners. Harlan County, Kentucky: Morning on the Highsplint picket line. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. 21. 2. Meeting of coal miners called by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). They say in Harlan County, there are no neutrals there You’ll either be a union man or a thug for J. H. Blair Which side are you on? Striking miners in the coalfields of southern West Virginia forced the Republican governor to sign a bill that allowed compensation for black lung disease. 8. I organized 9 Locals Tuesday.”. Organizer Garfield Lewis wrote, “The people have been so starved out that they are flocking into the Union by the thousands . 20. Lawrence Edward Jones Sr., 83, formerly of Louisville, died Thursday, December 11, 2003, in Elkhart, TX. It was perhaps the greatest union rebound ever.

17. Harlan County, Kentucky: Coal mine, not on strike and not union, mining 29-inch coal seam. Harlan County, Kentucky: Victory photo after the miners of the Highsplint mine voted to join the UMWA. Harlan County, Kentucky: Funeral of Lawrence Jones, killed by a scab during a confrontation away from the picket line. The question is back: “Which Side Are You On?”, Cal Winslow is the author of Radical Seattle: the General Strike of 1919. I visited Harlan in 1974 with a contingent from the British miners’ union. Coal mining family at home just outside of Everts, Harlan County, Kentucky. Thompson and the Making of the New Left. She was the daughter of a Kentucky coal miner and married to Sam Reece, an organizer for the radical National Miners Union, then embroiled in the bloody 1931 Harlan County War. “Which Side Are You On?” was written in the immediate aftershock of a midnight raid on her home and her children by Harlan County Sheriff J.H. Mr. Jones was killed by a scab during a confrontation away from the picket line. New machinery would transform underground mining — but at the expense of the coal miners themselves.

Get our print magazine for just $20 a year. 1. CEO Don Blankenship was convicted of willfully violating safety standards stands and spent a year in prison.

The strikers won, but only after 13 months and the murder of a young miner, Lawrence Jones, age 22. Only late in 1939 did intransigent Harlan coal masters reluctantly sign on with the union. Rank-and-file miners responded with a series of wildcat strikes, in 1964, 1966, and 1971, and in 1969 they won the great West Virginia Black Lung Strike, one of the few political strikes in U.S. history. The strikers won, but only after thirteen months and the murder of a young miner, Lawrence Jones, aged twenty-two. Graveside services for Lawrence Edward Jones Sr. will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, December 20, 2003, at Browning Cemetery in Harlan County. They say in Harlan County, there are no neutrals there 30. By then a powerful UMWA represented 400,000 working miners, promising safety at work and an escape from the poverty that had consumed generation after generation. We are lucky that his skill was used to document our lives and struggles over the last several decades.

Still, the Wall Street bankers and East Coast industrialists who owned the vast seams of the Southern coalfields would not give up without a fight, and Harlan remained “Bloody Harlan.” Armed company guards and sheriff’s deputies patrolled the steep mountains and narrow valleys of the Kentucky Appalachians. The Blevins family having a meal together at home. A meeting of the Brookside women’s support group. Harlan County; Kentucky: Picket line at the Highsplint mine. While there, he learned of an ongoing strike in Harlan County, Kentucky at the Brookside and Highsplint mines. There followed a decade of strikes in the coalfields, often wildcat strikes by some 40,000 young members, many veterans of the war in Vietnam. Published in Courier-Journal on Dec. 14, 2003. 31. 26. 9. Women of the Brookside women’s support group talk with Harlan County sheriff Billy Williams at a roadblock. The 2010 disaster at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine at Montcoal, West Virginia, cost twenty-nine lives. Harlan County, Kentucky: The wife and daughter of Lawrence Jones at his funeral. Aging autocrat and UMWA President John L. Lewis agreed to allow the employers a free hand in mechanizing the mines. Old miner with black lung and the breathing equipment he needs. Harlan County, Kentucky: Funeral of Lawrence Jones, killed by a scab during a confrontation away from the picket line. The new union leadership pledged to organize (or reorganize) the unorganized. Congress then passed a federal bill that assisted all afflicted miners. The union staff, now led by a Montana official, Tony Boyle, encamped in the union offices and rarely ventured into Appalachia, where the depression of the ’30s seemed never to have ended. A UMWA organizer who welcomed us displayed a revolver on the dashboard of his car. Share Lawrence's life story with friends and family. The work he did in Appalachia taught him a lot about exploitation. A seventy-three-year-old Florence Reece attended and led a rousing, emotional rendition of “Which Side Are You On?”. The Brookside strike is vividly recounted in Barbara Kopple’s masterpiece, the documentary Harlan County, USA. The mine owners have as little regard as ever for the lives of miners and their families. The 1920s, a decade of defeat for American workers everywhere, left the UMW in a shambles. .

In Pennsylvania and Ohio it had collapsed. (Robert Gumpert / Appalshop Archive). By then, a powerful UMWA represented 400,000 working miners, promising safety at work and an escape from the poverty that had consumed generation after generation. The question is back: “Which Side Are You On?”. He hired two drifters in a Cleveland bar, and on New Year’s Eve, they murdered Yablonksi, his wife, and his daughter in their beds. In 1972, while hitchhiking across the United States, Robert Gumpert found himself on the side of the road in Cabin Creek, West Virginia waiting for a ride. Harlan County, KY, coal miners win affiliation with UMWA union, United States, 1973-1974. In 1959, when Lewis retired, the union had been reduced to 180,000 members, and the southern coalfields, Harlan included, were non-union once again. Cal Winslow takes a look back. The Brookside strike is vividly recounted in Barbara Kopple’s masterpiece, the documentary Harlan County, USA. Our new issue – looking at what the Bernie campaigns accomplished – is out now. He was a member of Walnut Street Baptist Church and an Army veteran of World War II, where he served in the 11th Airborne Division in the Asian Theatre. Nonunion and Deadly Mr. Jones was preceded in death by his parents. The critically wounded miner was identified as Lawrence D. Jones, 22 years old. The rank-and-file group Miners for Democracy was organized at the funeral. However, he didn’t refuse to show poverty and hard times, he insisted on not making it the center of the story.

What Is to be Done?

1974: Coal mining family at home just outside of Everts, Kentucky.

The Kentucky governor sent in the state police and they proceeded to keep the strikers from blocking the scabs from working. For three months, Gumpert worked and lived in Harlan County photographing the strikes and the impact on the families and communities like Coxton and Evarts. Alas, catastrophe awaited, this time in the booming ’50s. The union, with all that it promised, is gone.

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