1. There are a number of narrators included in this section of the archive. The lyrics to Aunt Molly Jacksons song “Ragged Hungry Blues” is included and in this song, she is speaking from the point of view of a coal miners’ wife and how poor the living conditions have become. She speaks about how the coal miners should stop working until the earn a fair wage before their families die. Two versions of the song “which side are you on?” are presented in the archive and this song is speaking to the people who may not be directly involved in the strikes but suggests they take the side of the miner. 2. The points of view being expressed in the Miners section of the archive is that of the miner and people on the side of the miner. Not only the miners themselves, but also the family members of the miners who are directly affected by the strike. 3. These sources helped me understand more in depth just how bad the living conditions were when the strike started. The short segment of the documentary involving the life of Sarah Ogan Gunning really did a good job of showing first-hand accounts of what was happening during the strike. At the end, Hazel Gunning explained how Sarah would travel around looking for work but there was no work available and two of her children starved to death. Her husband was very sick and there was no hospital available for him to get better, she travelled into town to ask what to do and the court house suggested that he sleep under the floor of the house in order to prevent her or her children from contracting the illness. The testimonies from the book “Harlan Miners Speak” also gave a good insight to what the miners were dealing with during this time. Robert dean was a coal miner who felt that he was not getting paid enough for the work he was doing. He was arrested for unlawful literature during a protest after the National Miners Union called for the strike. Something I found interesting during the testimony was that Robert Dean stated that the officers said they were “hunting” him before they arrested him, this is a very strange term for an officer to use and makes it seem like they were looking for any reason possible to imprison miners who were participating in the strike. Another testimony was that of Aunt Molly Jackson. This testimony had the biggest effect on me because of her first-hand accounts of the health of the people around the strike. Aunt Molly Jackson was a nurse in the area and could see just how bad the malnourishment was, especially of newborn children. She says the babies were given foods that their still developing digestive systems simply could not digest, which led to the severe malnourishment. The songs included in the archive also helped me to better understand the conflict by displaying art being used to send a message across the country. In the video of Sarah Ogan Gunning’s life, she herself explains that she is a sad singer, that she composes songs about her life and things she has experienced growing up in a coal camp. This adds even more value to the lyrics of her song because it tells that they are very genuine as well as being able to provide first person accounts of the strike. 4. I believe that the most important song for understanding the strike included in the archive is the song “Which side are you on?”. This song is presented in two versions =, both including impactful lyrics. I had never heard of the song previously, but it is easy to see why It is one of the most important protest songs of all time. On the printed lyric version, a small note is included that says the composer was at home with her seven children when J.H. Blairs men showed up looking for her husband who was a leader in the union. She says that they waited for her husband all night and had planned to gun him down if he were to show up. Blair’s men trashed her house looking for him, but luckily, he never showed up that night. When the men left, Florence wrote the lyrics down to the tune of a biblical hymn, which I think is a comparison to the passion the people had during the strike. Florence stated that it was impossible to be neutral in this case, that if you were not a union man, you were one of Blairs gun wielding thugs. This song is important in understanding the strike because the lyrics and the story behind the song give insight as to how intense and violent the strike truly became.
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