minewar.org documenting the 1930's Illinois Mine War

“We’ll blow that damn thing off of the foundation.”
"We'll blow that damn thing off of the foundation."

Here’s a short excerpt from an oral history interview with Joe Ozanic, conducted in 1974 by Bobbie Herdon as part of the COAL MINING AND UNION ACTIVITIES PROJECT, University of Illinois Springfield. Ozanic was a coal miner and a leader of the Progressive Miners of America during the Illinois Mine War.     Ozanic was also […]

“We Can’t Lose”
"We Can't Lose"

This week marks the 78th anniversary the Wilsonville Sitdown Strike which occurred in May, 1937. I’ve written on that strike here and here. Here’s the complete image courtesy of Wayne Hinton and his website, http://hinton-gen.com/ I hope to learn which newspaper published this image during the strike.

“We will proceed…to wage a militant struggle for our rights”
"We will proceed...to wage a militant struggle for our rights"

Wayne Hinton, the administrator of the local history web site Wayne’s World of History and Genealogy just posted the complete text of the Constitution of District No. 1, Progressive Miners of America (PMA). Contrasting it to the constitution adopted in 1890 by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), there are notable similarities. Both unions demanded to […]

Les Orear Remembered
Les Orear Remembered

Les Orear passed away on Friday, May 30.   Les was an organizer with the C.I.O.’s Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee in the 1930’s and later served as the editor of the the United Packinghouse Workers of America newspaper.  Les was proud of his work in the union and the work the UPWA had performed to realize racial equality […]

“Single Stones Will Form An Arch” Illinois’ Last Union Coal Mine
"Single Stones Will Form An Arch" Illinois' Last Union Coal Mine

Illinois has a long proud history of labor activism in its coal fields.  Union miners have been active since 1861 when the first national miners union, the American Miners’ Association (AMA) was founded in Belleville, IL. Since then mine workers have organized under many banners, be that the AMA, the Reorganized United Mine Workers of […]

“It Is All Over”
"It Is All Over"

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the 2nd annual convention of the Illinois Women’s Auxiliary of the Progressive Miners of America (IWA).  Why commemorate the 2nd annual convention?  Because it marked a decisive moment in the formation of the union and the role of women within that movement. Founded in November, 1932 the IWA’s […]