Rare Photos of Harlan County-Brookside Strike Donated to Archive

Written by appalarchive

Harlan County, KY. Coal miners meet before heading to the picket line.

Appalshop Archive is pleased to announce that in March 2016 it received a donation of over 2000 photographic images that document 3 months in Harlan County, KY during the 1973-74 Brookside Mine coal strike against Eastover Mining Company. Donated by photographer Robert Gumpert, the 60-roll collection of 35mm b/w negatives captures the tension of the strike as well as the everyday lives of striking miners and their families, non-union miners, and residents of the county. Gumpert’s time in Harlan coincided with the making of Barbara Kopple’s award-winning documentary Harlan County USA and his photographs provide several powerful still image counterpoints to scenes and events in the film.

Harlan County, KY 1974:  UMWA on a 13 month strike at Brookside mines and on the pick line at Highsplint mine. Women of the Brooksdie women's support group talk with tow truck operator at a roadblock.

Lois Scott and miners’ wives talk to Sheriff Billy G. Williams at a strike roadblock..

The photographer wished to house the images in the region that they represent, and we are grateful for his contribution towards our mission to safeguard primary source materials that enrich our understanding of the history of central Appalachia.

Brookside coal camp, early morning. Mine in the background.  Harlan County, KY.

Brookside coal camp, early morning. Mine in the background.


If you would like to help support the work of preserving and improving access to these and other materials, please consider designating a donation to the Archive.

All images by Robert Gumpert.

Company “gun thugs” led by Basil Collins confront strikers on the picket line at Highsplint mine.

Coxton, KY. Elderly miner with black lung and the breathing equipment he needs.

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