Economic Desperation Blackens Coal Miner’s Lungs—Not Ignorance

Back lung among Appalachia’s coal miners has once again made national headlines, and in almost clock-work fashion, many self-righteous individuals took to social media channels to deplore Appalachia’s presidential voting choices. Some of the more common remarks have been, “That’s what they get,” while others attempt to benignly question the region’s intelligence with questions such... Continue Reading →

Coal Miners Are Good People

People ask me "Why do Appalachians vote against their own best interests?" Some are friends who are honestly trying to understand the situation from a point of concern. I know that they seek the cause for the discrepancy, rather than assume coal mining families are incapable of making intelligent political decisions. The question still stings... Continue Reading →

Without the Union…

I had been raised union and knew the benefits that came with it, but in its absence, I ended up joining thousands of other young men naive enough to believe we didn’t need a union.

The Modern Day Company Town

Most Appalachians raised in coal country can easily describe what a “company town” is. They are littered throughout Appalachia, rows of identically built houses with a few larger homes built on the hillsides for the shift foremen and superintendents. Company towns existed during a time in our history when the coal companies ruled our lives.... Continue Reading →

Laid Off

Over the past few years, we have witnessed an amazing downturn in the coal industry. Mines all throughout Appalachia have closed, leaving thousands of coal miners and their families in dire straits. For as long as the coal industry has existed, the people of Appalachia have lived at the mercy of a boom and bust... Continue Reading →

"Coal is all we’ve got"

My father told me and my brother on more than one occasion, "I wish I had've got you boys more when you were growing up. A lot of the guys at the mine were buying their kids new four wheelers and things. They'd buy bass boats, and campers and take their families to the lake... Continue Reading →

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