Forty Cents a Ton: Coal Mining in Hazard County, Kentucky

This week on From the Vault we feature a Pacifica Radio documentary about mining practices in Hazard County, Kentucky that was recorded in March 1963 and broadcast on WBAI on April 6th, 1963. The program shares the voices of residents from all walks of life in Hazard County, who discuss the coal miners’ union, the harassment union miners face from large mining companies, and the unofficial strikes organized in Hazard County. Participants include strike leaders Berman Gibson, Preacher Smith, Graham Noble, retired miner Harley Caldwell, and Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Noble; Mrs. W.P. Nolan and Louise Hatmaker of the Hazard Herald newspaper; C.E. Bean, president of District 30 – United Mine Workers of America; Reverend Aikley and Reverend Carroll of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Hazard Christian Church, respectively; Drs. Creeley and Potter of the Harlan Miners’ Memorial Hospital; Ed Johnson, a non-union mine owner; Brian Whitfield III, a union mine-owner; Floyd McDowell, president of the Harlan County Coal Operators Association; and Lee Cretchfield, president of the Hazard Chamber of Commerce. This documentary, which was produced by Hamish Sinclair, Bob Heifetz. Engineered by Sam Sanders and Stanley Aronowitzc, also features a song by Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs titled, “Mining Is a Hazard.”

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