University of Kentucky Libraries: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Roving Pickets Oral History Project

Appalachia Oral History Collection
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In the early 1960s, the United Mine Workers Welfare and Retirement Fund canceled medical cards held by union miners who were working for companies that failed to pay their royalty fees to the fund. In a few eastern Kentucky counties, the miners responded by traveling from mine to mine closing them down. Known as the Roving Picket Movement, it evolved by 1964 into the Appalachian Committee for Full Employment, an antipoverty organization whose goal was to organize unemployed miners and make the local War on Poverty programs more responsive to poor people. The Roving Picket Movement eventually led to pressures for black lung legislation in the late 1960s and to the reform of the United Mine Workers of America through the creation of Miners for Democracy. Interviewees include management personnel, public officials, coal operators, and miners and their families. Topics not mentioned above include industrial development, the Kentucky River Coal Corporation, violence in the coal fields, the Unemployed Fathers Program (the "Happy Pappy" Program), communism, the Brookside mine, the Citizens Committee for Law and Order, the Hazard Herald, mechanization, mine safety, the 1959 strike, Harlan County, women pickets, the Battle of Evarts, John Blair, Charlie Combs, Berman Gibson, Arnold Miller, and Judge Courtney Wells. The complete collection record can be accessed on SPOKEdb, the Nunn Center's online collection catalog: <a href="