Letter to the Editor

Remembering where we came from

Sunday, October 26, 2008

To the Editor:

Appalling working conditions working conditions prevailed for coal miners in Indiana before they were liberated by Eugene Debs and John L. Lewis.

Directly after graduating from college, my father came to Linton because of the burgeoning coal fields, and was instantly successful.

He never forgot the true source of his income -- the coal miner, who then worked hard for little pay, and under dreadful unsafe conditions -- conditions that were mainly responsible for two mine explosions -- Little Betty Mine near Pleasantville and Snow Hill Mine near Terre Haute.

My maternal uncle owned Snow Hill, and I am not without knowledge of the problems and responsibilities of ownership/management.

Incredulously the UMWA turned over investment of their welfare funds to management -- who, much like the automobile industry -- kept focused on profits and golden parachutes, rather than to John L. Lewis to invest in research and development.

We have had two kinds of people concerned with our welfare and fighting our battles: 1. self-made men, like my father, who never forgot where they came from and remained concerned and active in the welfare of the less fortunate, and 2. descendants of inherited wealth, specifically Jay Rockefeller, who labored so long and successfully for all American coal miners. Rockefeller was taught that he was fortunate to have financial and educational advantages, in turn for which he was obligated to help those less fortunate.

Too bad George W. Bush was not so well taught.

It behooves voters to remember all this in November.

Pollyanna S. Miller,