Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Oral History Collection
Tape, Magnetic

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Record 188/842
Copyright PastPerfect Museum
Collection Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Oral History Collection
Date 07/09/1982
Abstract Interview of Eddie Sturgill by Mike Yarrow.

Interviewer's description-
"Eddie Sturgill was born and reared in Benham, Kentucky in Harlan County and began working for U.S. Steel Coal mines at Lynch, Kentucky at the age of 18. After less than a year in the mines he was drafted in 1969 into the Marine Corps and spent a tour of duty in Vietnam. He returned as a shuttle car operator at Lynch in 1971 and was elected to the U.M.W.A. mine committee in 1974. Subsequently he became a field representative and then an elected member of the U.M.W.A. Executive Board (International Representative from District 19 in 1977). He discusses the history of coal mining unions in the United States, mentioning Southern Labor Union and the Progressive Mine Workers (mention is also made of communist influence in the evolution of coal miner's unions in this country). He describes his involvement in several organizing attempts by the U.M.W.A., ie., Brookside, Stearns, in the discussion is mention of the role of the Kentucky State Police in U.M.W.A. picketing efforts. He also depicts the role of Basil Collins, General Mine Foreman at Duke Power Company's Highsplint Mines, in transporting scabs across U.M.W.A. picket lines. He offers opinion of Barbara Kopple's film "Harlan County, U.S.A.". He responds to questions about the future for organizing efforts in this country and problems the union faces with selling potential member mines with the idea of contributing to the 1950 and 1974 pension plans. This interview concludes with a lengthy discussion of both national and union politics and their potential effects upon each other. Mr. Sturgill, very candidly, discusses personalities and past U.M.W.A. leaders (Tony Boyle, Arnold Miller, Sam Church, Jack Yablonski, Harry Patrick, etc.) as well as, the current election campaign of Rich Trumka and Sam Church."
Object ID 2007.001.0193
Object Name Tape, Magnetic
Subjects "Harlan County USA"
Benham, Kentucky
Coal mining
Lynch, Kentucky
Politics & government
U.S. Steel Corp.
Unions, Labor
United Mine Workers of America
United States Marine Corps.
Vietnam War
Interview date 07/09/1982
Interviewer Yarrow, Mike
Length of interview 46:41, 46:40
Media Cassette Tape
Narrator Sturgill, Eddie
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Last modified on: December 09, 2014