Struggles of Miners: A Reflection by Maddie Carroll

Mining has been an industry plagued with hardship and struggle since it’s creation. Miners today face the same danger that their ancestors did many years ago. The new regulations give miners a false sense of security. There are still massive accidents that occur inside the mines. There are even threats that the miners can not see with a naked eye.  Black Lung has been discovered years after the original coal miners risked their lives mining coal for the quickly developing country, who was at the time, very dependent on coal. The struggles back in the day were based on liberty and individualism, but now the fight is about significant compensation for diseases acquired on the job from an occupation that has many health risks.

Mine Wars has shown me that mining is an honest living but the industry is disgraceful. I am not sure how miners are treated now, but I hope it is an improvement from how they were treated back in the 1920’s. Mine Wars discussed how the miners unionized and tried to strike to obtain respect from their employers. The fight was ultimately unsuccessful on the battle field but the benefits of speaking up helped the miners of today.

Mining culture is protected in the Appalachian region. Most of the people who lived in these hills had a brother or a father who worked in the mines. The families of these miners suffered greatly as well. They had to live in extremely close quarters with growing families. The coal mine owners decided that this was all that was necessary to support the miners. Coal towns looked basically the same but had a few differences based on which coal mine owner you worked for. Some mining towns were nicer because the owner decided the better accommodations would attract more workers.

Today, we are still facing a generation of miners in distress, they are just not necessarily in this country. In China, mining towns are basically full of pollution and disgusting places to live. Through the interactive documentary on the Chinese mines, I discovered that miners are still fighting for their rights in other parts of the world. Chinese mines are some of the most dangerous mines in the world. The people who work there are almost complacent to the working conditions and do not seem to be concerned with starting a strike or creating a union. They want to keep their job more than they want to bring about change.

I hope that the miners eventually get the justice they deserve, whether they are here in this country or in an area like China. The mining industry has always been concerned with profit and so the workers suffer immensely. I wonder if mining can ever be a profession with no danger and a solid pay, or is it forever destined to be a job that is necessary yet still dangerous so it employs low skill or low education workers. Mining may be manual labor, but maybe there can be professional miners or engineers who create new ways to mine that don’t include men actually chipping away at the walls of the mines. Either way, I certainly hope that mining progresses to a point where there won’t be so much tragedy and risk.


Works Cited

2016, Honkytonk Films. Honkytonk films – online screening: Journey to the end of coal. 2016. Web. 27 July 2016.
Foundation, WGBH Educational. WGBH American experience | PBS . The mine wars. 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 27 July 2016.


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