THURSDAY, May 11, 2023 @ 7:30 p.m. — the Battle of Homestead Foundation and Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism present a free Zoom program with award-winning filmmaker Jared Hamilton discussing his new film “Mighty Harlan County” documenting the dramatic 2019 railway blockade by Kentucky miners seeking back pay from a corrupt mining company.
*** Participants are asked to view the entire film ahead of the May 11 discussion … the film will be discussed, not shown on May 11 … please view the film ahead of the May 11 film talk discussion … register here on Eventbrite and you’ll receive your viewing access password to see the film before the May 11 film talk discussion.
In July, 2019, the owners of Blackjewel Mining abruptly filed bankruptcy leaving 1,700 miners across Appalachia instantly unemployed and without benefits or required severance; the miners’ checks began bouncing, and money already deposited in their accounts was clawed back by the company.
In Harlan County, Kentucky, dozens of miners mounted an immediate resistance. Physically occupying the rail tracks for two months, they successfully prevented the last coal train with its $1million+ load from leaving the mine — until they and their colleagues were paid in full.
Veteran filmmaker Jared Hamilton was on hand to record the 2-month rail blockade, documented from start to finish in “Mighty Harlan County”, a newly-released 57-minute film offering unique access and insight into the daily struggles of American workers faced with critical career upheaval.
“Mighty Harlan County” follows the miners, their families and community supporters through the blockade and bitter legal battle with Blackjewel Mining that quickly made international news.
It also provides detailed historical context on the long history of labor disputes and corporate malfeasance in Harlan County and the surrounding coal mining region.
Hamilton will be joined by Dr. Lou Martin, associate professor of history at Chatham University and author of Smokestacks in the Hills: Rural-Industrial Workers in West Virginia; Jody DiPerna, senior writer and editor at Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism; former coal miner and educator Kipp Dawson.
Jared Hamilton is an Appalachian-born documentary-style photographer and videographer who graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2012 with a BA in Photojournalism. His clients include Appalshop, New York Times, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Garden & Gun, Eastern Kentucky University and National Public Radio. He self-publishes much of his personal work, including three volumes of his zine Familiar Paths. He is Chairman of the Board for artist collaborative group M.A.R.S. Collective based at Wiley’s Last Resort on top of Pine Mountain in Whitesburg, Kentucky.
*** Participants are asked to view the entire film ahead of the May 11 discussion … the film will be discussed, not shown on May 11 … view the film ahead of the May 11 film talk discussion … register here on Eventbrite and you’ll receive your viewing access password to see the film before the May 11 film talk discussion.