On this day in Alabama history: Mine workers went on strike

On this day in Alabama history: Mine workers went on strike
An electric tram moves through a tunnel of the Warner Coal Mines in Birmingham, ca. 1908. Miners fed coal from the mine shafts into chutes, where it emerged from the hatches that lined the tunnel. It then was transported to the surface by trams pulled by the train engine. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)

July 8, 1908

After years of escalating tensions over pay, miners in the greater Birmingham area took a stand. United Mine Workers District 20 had more than 20,000 members, and on July 8, 1908 declared a strike against U.S. Steel, which had just purchased the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Rail Company (TCI). TCI led other operators in a sharp pay cut, and on that first day more than 4,000 miners stayed off the job and protested visibly. Evicted from company housing, thousands were staying in tent cities. The strike garnered national attention, but Gov. Braxton Bragg Comer called on the military to cut down the tents, and the strike ended unsuccessfully at the end of August.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

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

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