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Harlan County, USA (1976)

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Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning documentary depicted a group of coal miners' prolonged and frequently dangerous strike against the Brookside Mine in Harlan County, Kentucky in June, 1973.

Eastovers refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. In addition to raising awareness of the miners' fight for safer working conditions and appropriate wages, Kopple likely prevented an outburst of violence simply by having her cameras on the scene.

Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA. 

 

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