Women Activism towards Labor Equality in the Coal Fields of Central Appalachia between 1964-1989


Women’s importance in unifying the labor union movement in the coal fields of Central Appalachia is not extensively documented. The struggle for labor rights repeats itself throughout history and continues to plague the working rural class of the Appalachian Highlands. Women’s activism coupled with organizing and leading groups of women to speak out for equal labor rights in the last three decades has been an issue poorly developed and one that cries out for attention not just from academia but the rest of the country and the world as well. Their political, social, and economic power struggles in recent decades resemble those that pioneers of the early 20th century faced. The differences are that these women fighting for women’s labor rights in the coal fields are fighting not just for their husbands. This document is designed as an introduction to an area needing more exploration and insight. With this as a starting point, windows of opportunity may open to aid in the identification of issues still in need of research and redemption.

Introductory Text: 

Laslett, John M. The United Mine Workers of America; A Model of Industrial Solidarity? University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996. ASU App Coll HD 6515.M616

Moore, Marat. Women in the Mines; Stories of Life and Work. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996. ASU App Coll HD 6073.M6152

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Coal Mines and Mining
  • Coal Mines and Mining- -Appalachian Region- -History- -Sources
  • Coal Miners- -Appalachian Region Southern
  • Coal Miners- -Appalachian Region Southern- -History
  • Coal Mining Spouses- -Appalachian Region Southern- -History 20th Century
  • Coal Mining Spouses- -Virginia Interviews
  • Coal Miners’ Spouses- -Appalachian Region- -Interviews
  • Coal Miners’ Spouses- -New River Valley
  • Coal Miners’ Spouses- -West Virginia- -Appalachian Region-Southern
  • Coal Miners’ Strike, Harlan County Kentucky 1973
  • Coal Strike
  • Community Organization- -Appalachian Region
  • Mining Camps- -West Virginia
  • Rural Women Appalachian Region Economic Conditions
  • Rural Women Appalachian Region Social Conditions
  • Strikes and Lockouts- -Coal Mining- -Kentucky
  • Strikes and Lockouts- -Coal Mining- -West Virginia
  • United Mine Workers of America
  • Women- -Appalachian Region- -Historiography
  • Women Coal Miners- -Appalachian region- -Interviews
  • Women Coal Miners
  • Women Coal Miners- -US- -History
  • Women Coal Miners- -US- -Interviews
  • Women Coal Miners- -US- -Songs- -Music
  • Women in Community Organization- -West Virginia
  • Women in Politics- -Kentucky
  • Women- -West Virginia- -Social Conditions Working Class Women- -Kentucky
  • Working Class Women- -Southern States
  • Working Class Women- -Tennessee
  • Working Class Women- -West Virginia


  • Collective Labor Agreements- -Coal Mining Industry
  • Feminism
  • Rural Women Appalachian Region
  • Sexual Discrimination Against Women
  • Sexual Discrimination in Employment
  • Sexual Harassment of Women- -US
  • Social Movements
  • Women in Politics
  • Women in Trade Unions- -US- -History
  • Women’s Rights
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Appalachia-Economic Conditions Poverty
  • Appalachia-Politics and Government
  • Coal Miners-Disease and Hygiene
  • Coal Mines and Mining
  • Coal Mines and Mining-Accidents
  • Coal Mining-Strikes
  • Kentucky-General
  • Letcher, Kentucky
  • Mines and Mineral Sources
  • Mountain People-Country Life-Women-Appalachia
  • “The Southeast Miner”
  • Stripmining
  • Unemployment
  • West Virginia-General Women
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • F 106.J74-M3
  • F 217.A65
  • HD 6073.M62
  • HD 6073.M6152
  • HD 6079.2 U5 F65
  • HD 6515.M6
  • HD 8039.M62
  • HQ 1115.T87
  • HQ 1236.W6365
  • HQ 1438.A127-T2

Fiene, Judith Ivy. The Social Reality of a Group of Rural, Low-Status, Appalachian Women; A Grounded Theory. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993. ASU App Coll HQ 1438. T2

Giesen, Carol A.B. Coal Mining Wives; Portraits of Endurance. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1995. ASU App Coll HD 8039.M62

Kahn, Kathy. Hillbilly Women. New York, NY: Avon Books, 1972. ASU App Coll HQ 1438.A13

Lyon, George Ella. Mama is a Miner; paintings by Peter Catalanatto. New York: Orchard Books, 1994. ASU App Coll Stack P28.3.L9893

Norris, Randall and Jean-Philippe Cypres. Women of Coal. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1996. ASU App Coll HD 6073.M6152

Seitz, Virginia Rinaldo. Women, Development, and Communities for Empowerment in Appalachia. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995. ASU App Coll HQ 1438.A127

Shackelford, Laurel and bill Weinberg, et al. Our Appalachia: An Oral History. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977 ASU App Coll F217. A65.097

Shifflett, Crandall A. Coal Towns; Life, Work, and Culture in Company Towns of Southern Appalachia, 1880-1960. Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press, 1991. ASU App Coll F217.A65

White, Connie, and Barabara Angle and Marat Moore. Sexual Harassment in the Coal Industry: A Survey of Women Miners. Oak Ridge, TN: Coal Employment Project, 1981. ASU HD 6060.5.U5 W48

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Brenner, Aaron, Benjamin Day, and Immanuel Ness. The Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History. Armank: M.E. Sharpe, 2009. WCU general HD5324.E39*

Fisher, Stephen L., ed. A Guide to Appalachian Studies. Boone: Appalachian State University, 1977: p13-29. ASU App Coll F106. A137 G6

Frost-Knappmen, Elizabeth. Women’s Progress in America. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1994: p213, 225, 296, 305. ASU REF HG1410. F76

Jones, Constance. A Library in a Book: Sexual Harassment. NY: Facts on File, Inc., 1996: p28, 38, 58,180-7, 191-2. ASU REF HG 1237.5.U6 J66

Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1992: p118-122. ASU App Coll F451.K413 1992

McFadden, Margaret, ed. Women’s Issues; Ready Reference. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1997. V.I, II, III: p62, 145-150, 788-91. ASU REF HQ1115. W6425 1997

Wilson, Charles Reagan and William Ferris, ed. Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1989: p1415-16. ASU App Coll Oversize F209.E53


Burch, John R. ed., The Bibliography of Appalachia. Jefferson: McFarland and
Company, 2009. ASU App Coll Z1251.A7 B87

Appalachian Bibliography. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1968,1972, and 1980. ASU App Coll Z1251.A7 A6

Farr, Sidney Saylor. Appalachian Women: An Annotated Bibliography. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1981. ASU App Coll Z7964.A127 F37

Munn, Robert F. The Coal Industry in America: A Bibliography and Guide to Studies. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1977. ASU App Coll Z6738.C6 M8

Parkinson, George. Guide to Coal Mining Collections in US. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1978. ASU App Coll Z6738. C6 P37

Yonarella, Ann-Marie. Coal and the Social Sciences: A Bibliograpy Guide to the Literature. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1989. ASU App Coll Z6738. C6 C62

Abstracts and Indices: 

American History and Life. Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Press. v.1, 1964 – v.10, 1973. ASU 1st FLOOR STORAGE E11. A45 (also available on the ASU WEB VERSION)

Women Studies Abstracts. Rush, NY: Rush Publication Company. v.1-27. ASU Reference HQ 1180. W682

Online ASU Abstracts and Indices:
(All can be found at the ASU Library Home Page)

Contemporary Women’s Issues.

Dissertation International Abstracts. 1861 - to date

Families Studies Database. 1970 - to date

Historical Abstracts. 1982 - to date

Psycho Info. 1887 - to date

Social Science Abstracts. 1983 - to date

Sociological Abstracts. 1963 - to date

Women’s Resources International. 1972 - to date

WorldCat. 11th century - to date


Appalachian Journal. Quarterly. Boone: Appalachian State University, 1972-present, Indices in V7, N.4; V18, N4; V23, N.4. ASU App Coll F216.2.A66

Appalachian Women’s Journal. Quarterly. Christiansburg, Virginia: Appalachian Women’s Alliance, 1993. ASU App Coll HQ 1438. A127

Coal Patrol. Washington D.C.: Brophy Associates. no.4, 1971-no.31, 1973. ASU App Coll. HD 6350.M615 C63

Journal of Appalachian Studies. Semi-Annual. Morgantown: Appalachian Studies Association, 1995-present. ASU App Coll F217. A65

Journal of Women’s History. Quaterly. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1989-Present. ASU WEB VERSION

MAW, A Magazine of Appalachian Women. Bimonthly. Ashton: Ashton, W. Va. 1977-78.
ASU App Coll F106.M3

Mountain Life & Work. Quarterly. Berea: Berea College, 1925-1988. ASU App Coll GR 103.M5

Now & Then. Tri-Annual. Johnson City, TN: ETSU Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, 1984- Present. ASU App Coll F217. A65 N68

The Appalachian Reader. Quarterly. Banner, KY:Appalachian Community Resource Service, 1998-2002. ASU App Coll OVSZ HN79.A127 A633


-Coal Information Networks

-Coal Links

–Women Coal Miners in the Mines of Southeastern Kentucky

- Suzanne Tallichet- Researcher of Female Coal Miners

-Appalshop Film Catalogue

-Women in Mining

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Jessica Wrye, 29 November 2000

Updated by: 

Updated by: Beverly Minick, 12 October 2010