Coal Creek Wars 1891-1892
The Coal Creek War was an armed labor uprising that took place primarily in Anderson County, in the American state of Tennessee, in the early 1890s. The struggle began in 1891 when coal mine owners in the Coal Creek watershed attempted to replace free coal miners with convicts leased out by the state government. Over a period of just over a year, the free miners continuously attacked and burned prison stockades and company buildings, hundreds of convicts were freed, and dozens of miners and militiamen were killed or wounded in small-arms skirmishes. One historian describes the conflict as "one of the most dramatic and significant episodes in all American labor history."
The Coal Creek War was part of a greater struggle across Tennessee against the state's controversial convict-leasing system, which allowed the state to lease its convicts to mining companies to compete with free labor. The outbreak of the conflict touched off a partisan media firestorm between the miners' supporters and detractors, and brought the issue of convict leasing to the public eye. Although the uprising essentially ended with the arrests of hundreds of miners in 1892, the publicity it generated led to the downfall of Governor John P. Buchanan, and forced the state to reconsider the convict-leasing system. In 1896, when its convict-lease contracts expired, Tennessee's state government refused to renew them, making it one of the first Southern states to end the controversial practice
Lyrics to the folk song "Coal Creek Troubles," a song based on the wars.
Suggested Theme & Style Guidelines
Let's celebrate the miners that
If you're looking for inspiration, check out the Celebrate People's History series of posters. It was the inspiration for this contest. #Occuprint has a huge collection of interesting posters from the worldwide Occupy movement.
Things You Need to Include
Things You Should Avoid
Deadline for Submission: August 1, 2015
Voting will be conducted on Facebook August 3-10. The top designs will win 50% of the sale of the first 100 posters, and VIP status at the COA event to present and display the posters to be held in the fall.
All submissions will be displayed on this site and available to local educators for free high-resolution download and self-publishing.