On this day in Alabama history: Governor ordered miners’ tent colonies cut down

On this day in Alabama history: Governor ordered miners’ tent colonies cut down
Coal mining interests in Alabama built company housing for workers, which were managed and controlled with heavy-handed tactics by corporate agents. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Library of Congress)

August 26, 1908

Gov. Braxton Bragg Comer ordered state troopers to cut down mine strikers’ tent colonies for promoting racial equality among black and white miners. The strike pitted members of the interracial District 20 of the United Mine Workers labor union against their wealthy industrial employers in a struggle for improved wages and working conditions. Starting on July 8, 1908, the strike quickly encompassed more than half of Birmingham’s 20,000 miner labor force and threatened to shut down coal production. Despite their successes, the strike failed after mine owners resorted to promoting violence and armed state intervention, and mine operations soon returned to normal.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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