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How Did The War Affect The Lives Of Coal Miners And Their Families

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In early May, 1931, coal miners of Harlan County went on strike. Harlan County War, also referred to as “Bloody Harlan,” consisted of a vast amount of coal miners and union organizers fighting against coal firms and the law enforcement. Unforeseen struggles were created because of this strike. Leading thousands of families jobless and eventually some became homeless. These miners wanted to gain a decent wage, steady job, and a plan of safety checks in the mines, but their direct worries were food and shelter for their families. The constant struggle that the miners and their families had to go through was caused by the strike. Once the miners decided to go on strike, their families had to endure many different obstacles to keep the family …show more content…

Many of these head householders where miners fighting for justice in the coal mines. Because those men went on strike, the cash flow into the family was slim to nothing. Relief was promised by the United Mine Workers of America, but the amount of help that was needed was more than what the leaders had expected. According to Dwight Billings, a professor of sociology and Appalachian studies stated, “The economic distress-both local and national- combined with the United Mine Workers of America’s unwillingness to support the mines provided the opening for what John Hennen calls a “radical alternative.” The National Miners Union (NMU) was the result of the American Communist Party’s decision to no longer “bore from within” established trade unions bust instead to create its own unions.” Traditional relief programs such as Red Cross withheld aid and the assurance from the NMU to corroborate with the striking miners gained the dedication from a small portion of the miners for them. When the strike had failed, no relief was there. These miners and their families were completely on their own and had been for a while. While the miners of the coal mines made the decision to go on strike, the women and children in their lives were affect more than they should have …show more content…

A young boy, who was merely 19 years of age, was a part of one of the most blatant acts of violence that was perpetrated against him. Harry Simms, a union organizer was walking along a track between Pineville and Barbourville on a relief mission. Minding his own business this young boy was approached by two deputies riding in a handcar. One of the deputies pulled out a gun and shot the youth in the stomach. After Simms death, more and more violence spilled out into Harlan County coal miners. During this time, it was not safe for coal miners and even more, their families. Young boys, such as Simms, were growing up and starting to mold their lives; only to be murdered by men with such hatred in them. People who were referred to as “strikebreakers,” would barge into the homes of miners with armed guards, brake up union meetings, and interrupt picket lines. Because of this, many families were evicted from their company housing and into the streets. The strikes lead violence into the streets and into the homes of many innocent

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