Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Janice Bargo, October 23, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Start of her involvement in the strike / Experience with unions

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Partial Transcript: Jan, would you say your name into your microphone?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo recalls how she became involved in the Brookside strike. Additionally, Bargo shares her prior experience with unions, focusing on the strike that her father participated in while working with the Harlan Fuel Company.

Keywords: Brookside strike; Harlan Fuel Company; Illnesses; Jails; Mother-in-law; Moving; Pensions; Southern Labor; Talking; Yancey (Ky.)

Subjects: Barbourville (Ky.); Brother; Father; Harlan County (Ky.); Marriage; Money; Mother; People; Retirement; Sons; United Mine Workers of America

00:07:33 - Quitting the strike

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Partial Transcript: Uh, w--after they put us in jail I don't think I went back.

Segment Synopsis: Bargo explains why she decided to quit the strike following an escalation in violence towards the protesters.

Keywords: Brookside strike; Conflicts; Dissatisfied; Husbands; Salary

Subjects: Electricians; Harlan County (Ky.)

00:14:43 - Start of the picket line

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Partial Transcript: So, you started getting up and going to the picket line in the morning with Roger?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo reflects upon the beginning of the picket line, and how she and her husband managed financially during the strike since her husband worked in the mine and also participated in the strike.

Keywords: Babysitters; Beliefs; Brookside strike; Finances; Gardens; Husbands; Mortgages; Shifts; Strike benefits; Together; Unions

Subjects: Children; Father; Harlan County (Ky.); Picketing; Uncles

00:20:34 - Unions

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Partial Transcript: Was your mother real sick then, or?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo talks of the picket line and the role that unions have played in Eastern Kentucky, especially during strikes.

Keywords: Brookside strike; Contracts; Dangers; Fortunate; Harlan Fuel Company; Healthcare; Hospitals; Illnesses; Picket lines; Smith (Ky.); Unions; Yancey (Ky.)

Subjects: Harlan County (Ky.); Mother; Parents; Picketing; United Mine Workers of America

00:22:59 - Husband

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Partial Transcript: Well, as long as we're on that, how did you meet him?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo recalls how she met her husband Roger. Bargo also briefly talks of the various jobs she has had throughout her marriage.

Keywords: A&P Tea Company; Grocery stores; H&R Block; Husbands; Taxes

Subjects: Barbourville (Ky.); Brother; Harlan County (Ky.); High school; Marriage; Work

00:27:44 - Reactions of the public to the picket line

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Partial Transcript: What did Roger think about you going out on the picket line?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo describes some of the more adverse reactions to the women participating in the Brookside strike.

Keywords: Angry; Brookside Mine; Brookside strike; Cars; Contracts; Husbands

Subjects: Coal miners; Harlan County (Ky.); Incident; Man; Picketing; Women

00:31:49 - Scabs / Rumors / Children

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Partial Transcript: Well, do you remember what it was like when they would come and start to cross? What did you feel like?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo explains what it was like to see others cross the picket line. Additionally, Bargo reflects upon some of the rumors circulating about the strike at the time. The interviewee then briefly talks of her sons and their careers.

Keywords: Bosses; Brookside strike; Contracts; Jobs; Kentucky State Police; Managers; Mining; Rumors; Scared; Yancey (Ky.)

Subjects: Blacklist; Careers; Children; Coal miners; Education; Experience; Father; Harlan County (Ky.); Picketing; Sons; Violence; Women

00:39:17 - Bargo's business / Safety in the Brookside Mine

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Partial Transcript: Oh, tell me about your business. This is fascinating!

Segment Synopsis: Bargo discusses the exercise business that she recently opened. Bargo then expresses her concerns with the conditions at the Brookside Mine, especially before the strike.

Keywords: Brookside mine; Conditions; Dangerous; Finance; Husbands; Investments; Newspapers; Security

Subjects: Corbin (Ky.); Death; Electricians; Exercise; Harlan County (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Parents; Small businesses

00:42:41 - Her arrest during the strike

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Partial Transcript: Well, what did you do after you stopped going to the picket line?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo recalls her arrest while protesting, and explains why this incident prompted her to quit the movement.

Keywords: Beliefs; Brookside strike; Courthouses; Dangerous; Husbands; Jails; Picket lines; Witnesses

Subjects: Arrest; Bedding; Coffee; Food; Harlan County (Ky.); Lawyer; People; Picketing; Testimony

00:46:02 - Women in the strike

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Partial Transcript: Well, tell me about being a woman out there. Did you have people hollering at you saying, "this is no place for you," that kind of stuff?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo explores what it was like to be a woman in the Brookside strike, protesting alongside the male coal miners.

Keywords: Brookside strike; Community; Desperate; Excited; Husbands; Language; Picket lines; Talking

Subjects: Budget; Children; Coal miners; Criticism; Harlan County (Ky.); Picketing; United Mine Workers of America; Women

00:51:15 - Updates on strike participants

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's see. What all else did you do?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo and the interviewer discuss former participants in the strike and their lives following the strike.

Keywords: Brookside strike; Donations; Films; Picket lines; Public inquiry; Steakhouses

Subjects: Coal miners; Harlan County (Ky.); Money; Photographs; Picketing; Posters

00:56:59 - Pensions / Marrying her husband

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Partial Transcript: How do you think, uh, Roger's family felt about the union?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo discusses the different types of pensions that local miners receive. Bargo also recalls her marriage to her husband.

Keywords: Black lung pensions; Blood tests; Courthouses; Family; Husbands; In-laws; Quiet; Unfair; Unions

Subjects: Coal miners; High school; Marriage; Parents; Pensions; Social security

01:00:15 - Family

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Partial Transcript: What was your maiden name? I didn't ask you.

Segment Synopsis: Bargo talks of her family, including her parents, grandparents, and siblings.

Keywords: Aunts; Business; Colleges; Cows; Dinners; Disability; Factory; Fun; Hollers (Hollows); Siblings; Visiting

Subjects: Ambition; Brother; Chickens; Children; Corbin (Ky.); Education; Families.; Grandmother; Grandparents; Heritage; Holidays; Housekeeping; Knox County (Ky.); Life; Mother; Shopping; Sisters; Union College (Barbourville, Ky.)

01:07:52 - Benefits of small business / Changes after strike

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Partial Transcript: You like being self-employed?

Segment Synopsis: Bargo illustrates the role of her family in her business, as well as the positive aspects of running a small business. Bargo then explains how her character has changed since the strike.

Keywords: Back pain; Family; Husbands; Jobs; Owners; Training

Subjects: Arthritis; Corbin (Ky.); Cumberland (Ky.); Exercise; Families.; Harlan County (Ky.); Independence; Life; London (Ky.); Meetings; Middlesboro (Ky.); Small businesses; Sons; Weight loss; Women

01:14:37 - Impact of the strike / Favorite part of the picket line

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Partial Transcript: Well, let me ask you a huge, sweeping question that probably has no answer.

Segment Synopsis: Bargo evaluates how the strike has impacted Harlan County, in particular the decrease in union activity is emphasized. Following this, Bargo briefly shares her favorite part of participating in the picket line.

Keywords: A&P Tea Company; Brookside strike; Challenging; Depressing; Excitement; Future; Grocery stores; Hospitals; Husbands; Lois Scott; Pay cuts; Picket lines; Plans; Self-respect; Southern Labor Union; Together; Uncertain; Unions; Worse

Subjects: Coal miners; Father; Harlan County (Ky.); Lynch (Ky.); Personal Satisfaction; Picketing; Proud; Satisfaction