History Repeats Itself

It has been said that if we don't learn from history we are bound to repeat it. During my extensive study of labor history for my book "Miner Injustice the Ragman's War" and the sequel "Wildcat Strike" I have found this to be true especially with the struggle to establish a workers union. On this page I will relate current events to conditions during the labor movement of the 1920's and 1930's.


I am the author of "Bucket of Blood the Ragman's War" , "Miner Injustice", and presently working on "Wildcat Strike, Building A Union". I am the daughter of a coal miner, union organizer, and early civil rights activist. A graduate of Thiel College, I live in the mountains of rural Virginia with my husband, two golden retrievers, and bossy cat.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Northern Slavery

I would like to comment on W. B. Spillman’s November 16th letter to the Roanoke Times; The South has risen again; so should slavery. Spillman points out that the map of blue and red states reflects that the south won the Civil War. With that victory Spillman proposes the ludicrous, sardonic idea that since slavery is one of the core values in the South that the concept should return.

I would like to ask W. B. Spillman to review history. Slavery wasn’t exclusive to the South. Pennsylvania, a blue northern state, retained a form of slavery well into the Twentieth Century during the Coolidge prosperity of the Roaring Twenties was controlled by rich industrialists.

The world ran on coal much like it does on oil today, the price per tonnage had to remain low so profits could be made by the mine owners, steel mills, and railroads. This was done by the exploitation of immigrant miners who were enslaved in a system of servitude—isolated and totally dependant on the company. Often, after a week of back-breaking, wet, dirty, and dangerous labor in a dark, dusty workplace under the earth, the miner would end up owing money to his boss.

In 1927, 150,000 Pennsylvania coal miners refused to work. An army of Coal and Iron Police seized their property, evicted them from their homes, and imposed unconstitutional restrictions. Solidarity was survival, since there was no where else to turn but each other. The events of the strike were censored from history. BUCKET OF BLOOD THE RAGMAN’S WAR, tells the story. I suggest he read the it, especially the actual news articles that introduce each chapter.