Harlan County, U.S.A

Synopsis:
Year:
1976
96 Views


Fire in the hole!

Fire in the hole!

Fire in the hole!

All clear.

Come, all you young fellers

So brave and so fine

Seek not your fortune

Way down in the mines

It'll form like a habit

And will sink in your soul

Till the streams of your blood

Runs as black as the coal

Where it's dark as a dungeon

Damp as a tomb

Where the danger is double

And the pleasures are few

Where the rain never falls

The sun never shines

It's dark as a dungeon

Way down in the mine

- She out here smilin'?

- Yeah. Smile for her.

Why do them girls

got them car clothes on?

Whew.

For 42 years

Been a mighty long time

I labored and toiled

Down in a coal mine

Down in a deep hole

Where the bright lights did glow

Back in a dark room

A- spadin'up coal

My bones, they did ache me

My kneecaps got bad

Down on a hard rock

On a set of knee pads

The motors were shiftin'

I got sand in my hair

Both lungs were broke down

From a-breathin' bad air

Coal mining was rough.

Eighteen and 20 hours.

Get wet, come outside,

and your clothes'd be froze to stiff.

It would sound like a fire broom hit 'em

make a rattling noise.

They worked you like

workin'a mule or a brute.

I heard the boss man to say one time

He said, "You be sure...

"don't get that mule no place

where the rock'll fall in on him.

Don't take that mule to no bad place. "

I said, uh, "Well, what about me?"

I was drivin' mule then.

"What about me,

if a rock had fallen on me?"

He said, "We can always hire another man,

but you gotta buy that mule."

In other words, he thought more

of the mule than he did a man.

My grandfather was a coal miner...

and belonged to the union

the U.M. W.

And, uh, he died with black lung.

Uh, I can remember sittin' around,

you know, when we were younger...

And him talkin' about

bein' on picket lines and organizin'.

I mean, that was that was

mostly what we talked about...

Sittin' around the table

after supper and all.

Most of our conversation was his union

You know, when he was

organizin' for the union...

And things that happened on the picket line

and things that the company did to you.

So I began to hate the company,

you know, uh

I mean, seemed like I just always did.

I knew they were our enemy, you know.

And then, uh, when I watched him die...

And suffer like he did

with that black lung disease...

I knew that something

could be done about it.

I told myself then, if I ever get the opportunity

to get those coal operators, I will.

'Cause I thought, you know...

They was the enemy.

So when this strike came up,

I saw the opportunity and I jumped right in there.

Let's get up there at 5:00

in the morning and fix you a good cup of coffee.

Let's be there and show these Brookside workers

what we can do for 'em.

Let's stand on our two feet and show these boys

we can help 'em get a contract.

Let's show the people of Harlan County

we stand together.

'Cause you filed for this contract.

We gonna get it.

Hey, the fire's done hot now.

There ain't much they can do.

All you boys on that football field,

I want you to be there in the mornin'.

Let's show Carl Horn that we stand on two feet

here in Harlan County.

We'll sit there and sweat

when it's snowin'.

We'll stand right there until that

U.M.W.A. contract is signed at Brookside.

All you people here on Black Mountain,

we'd highly appreciate it...

if you'd be there at 5:00

sunrise revival at Brookside, Kentucky.

Let's don't back off.

Let's don't let one man run us out of Harlan.

Yeah, boys, that's where it's happenin'

Brookside at 5:
00, Monday mornin'.

Let's be down there to support

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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