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Miners fight one last battle against ‘big coal’

By Angela Jackon

Columnist

Oh, daddy won’t you take me back to Mulenberry Co. down by the Green River where paradise lay. I’m sorry my son but you’re too late to askin’ Mr. Peabody’s coal cars done hauled it away. Another sad action one of many; Blair Mtn. where the miners fought back 50 miners killed by coal baron’s hired thugs. Their homes firebombed with their families in them. The U.S. Government wanted to try the miners for treason.

As always the government took the side of the coal barons who in my opinion, an opinion that I believe holds true today, the coal barons would literally sell the miners’ children down the Green River along with the coal if they could have gotten away with it.

And remember Mathel, a shootout between the coal barons’ thugs and one of the Hatfields. He showed ‘em and then the U.S. Government tried him for treason, but he won.

There are hundreds of stories of heroism, suffering, death and heart break when it comes to coal miners, and few events have happy endings. At least now miners don’t have to live in section houses and be paid in script, but they will never be able to count on coal barons to save them or their way of life.

Some people believe Southeast Kentuckians fight and die for coal. I believe they fight for their lands, their homes through generations from before the Civil War. Coal was just a way of scraping out a living. Kentuckians fought and died to keep from being robbed.

If it had not been for the communist and union organizations, the coal miners would not have the benefits they have today. That might explain why Mitch McConnell has sucked up to the Russians and invited them to immigrate to Kentucky, NAH; Mitch don’t care about Kentucky. Then the miners turned away from the unions and embraced the coal barons.

I wish that Kentucky schools would make it mandatory for all students to watch the documentary “Harlan Co. U.S.A.” It should be shown every year before Thanksgiving. In “Harlan Co. U.S.A.” the women of Harlan, beat the coal barons. They stood in front of the coal trucks, just like the men in Harlan today are standing in front of the trains.

I wondered if some of those young men were the grandchildren of some of those women. I thought how proud those women would be. Do you think they were there in spirit, in the night mist? Comforting, praying, proud of these young men?

Young men fighting once more for their rights, their money, their jobs. Fighting the last fight against the coal barons. They will win another victory in what has been an endless war for human rights over coal barons’ profits.

Coal will go the way of the horse and buggy, and the coal barons will switch to natural gas. Harlan and the land they love, and its miners will S.O.A.R. to new heights. Finally, free of coal baron oppression, free to dream of life without death, sickness and uncertainty free to have a future, free to make a joyful noise. Sing a happy song like, I can leave Harlan alive, or, I can stay here and strive, and believe me I’ll thrive as the ages they roll to hell with coal, we’re Harlan, Kentucky.

I hope those young coal miners who were robbed by big coal will be the last ones. I hope these young heroes win this last battle.