Dark as a Dungeon: Illinois Coal Mining in Song and Story

A Road Scholar Program by Mike Matejka & Bucky Halker

Mike m and bucky h

Apr 10, 2024


John A. Logan College
700 Logan College Dr
Carterville, IL 62918



Illinois was critical to workers’ finding their democratic voice through labor organization. From Chicago’s Haymarket Square to southern Illinois coal mines, workers struggled to build unions, create safe work environments, and find a community voice through their united efforts.

In building these organizations workers often faced state repression and learned how to organize across ethnic, racial, and gender lines. Coal miners in Illinois and the rest of the US have a long tradition of writing poetry and music related to their occupation.

Labor troubadour Bucky Halker and historian Mike Matejka will share music, poetry, and stories about coal mining, mine disasters, and union struggles in Illinois. 

Pullman porters ottawa radium girls4

Left: Pullman Porters; Right: Next to the 'Radium Girls' statue, Rose Baima, who worked at Luminous Process, holds a photo of her and her co-workers during the 1940's

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact David Cochran at davidcochran@jalc.edu.

Host Organization