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Ross McElwee Jr.
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This film documents the coal miners' strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky in June, 1973. Eastovers refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA. Written by
Martin Lewison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When filming began, the film was intended to be about the 1972 campaign by Arnold Miller and Miners For Democracy to unseat UMWA president Tony Boyle, in the aftermath of Joseph Yablonski's murder; but the Harlan County strike began and caused the filmmakers to change their principal subject, with the campaign and murder becoming secondary subjects. See more »
Thank you Ms. Kopple for your courage and resolve to show the world the struggle of a brave group of men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed. I am an ex-coal miner from Harlan County and I remember the Brookside strike vividly. You portrayed the sorrow and joy of these courageous families. When I was watching the documentary I was shocked to see a portion where union miners were at the bridge attempting to stop the scabs from crossing the bridge and going to work. I was one of those men who wanted to stand with their union brothers against the tyranny of the coal operators. This was the only time I was arrested in my entire life but the union organizer made sure we never spent one second behind bars. This gripping documentary brings back wonderful memories of a time in my life when I joined myself to a group of people I didn't know for a common cause. There is something refreshing about fighting for what you dearly believe in and you brought the struggle of many to light for the whole world to see. I only wish you had your camera with me when the state troopers roughed me up before putting me in the back seat of one of the cruisers. At this point I feared for my life because all of my union brothers were at the bridge and I was surrounded by scabs waiting for the bridge to clear so they could go to work. All previous comments were very touching to read from one who lived during those days and was involved almost daily manning the picket line for our union brothers. Peace!
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