Interview with Norman Yarborough, October 31, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Work in the coal industry

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Yarborough, would you say your name in your mic?

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough reviews his career in the coal industry, including a few breaks and many roles including Eastover Mining president. He also discusses his father's history working in Alabama until the family moved to Kentucky. He shares his views on the utilities industry and unionization.

Keywords: Blue Diamond Coal Company; Carl Yarborough; Education; Harlan Fuel Company; United Mine Workers of America

Subjects: Coal--Kentucky.; Collective bargaining--Coal mining industry; Education--Kentucky; Industries; United Mine Workers of America

00:13:26 - Views on coal and other industries

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Partial Transcript: Did you find yourself in the position of trying to convince Duke to keep its wholly-owned coal production?

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough discusses his differences with his superiors in the coal industry. He talks about his failed attempt to become a contractor with Duke Power Company and the impact, including union pressure.

Keywords: Developments; Duke Power Company; Eastover Mining Company; Regulations; Unions

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Coal leases; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Law and legislation; Industries

00:21:13 - Expansion efforts and failures

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Partial Transcript: So in terms of running Eastover Mining, did you have your own plan of how you wanted to expand--

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough talks about his role in the expansion of Duke Power Company's coal industry. He discusses the purchase of property in Harlan, Kentucky and the impact of the Brookside strike.

Keywords: Duke Power Company; Eastover Mining Company; Financing; Property; Strikes

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Coal Miners' Strike, Harlan County, Ky., 1973.; Coal leases; Coal mines and mining; Industries

00:30:42 - Union presence in Harlan

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Partial Transcript: They didn't believe it. The people, uh, a lot of the people are hardcore. There's a lot of hardcore UMWA people in this county.

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough discusses how Duke Power Company underestimated the importance of United Mine Workers of America in Harlan County. He also talks about the internal politics pushing the democratization of the UMWA at the time.

Keywords: Arnold Miller; Carl Horn, Jr.; Duke Power Company; Public relations; Salaries; Shareholders; Strikes

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Coal Miners' Strike, Harlan County, Ky., 1973.; Coal miners--Labor unions--Organizing; Coal.; United Mine Workers of America

00:45:44 - Strike in Highsplint / Negotiations

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Partial Transcript: Uh, let me ask you this, if, if it wasn't hurting the company that much to lose that production right then, had you and Carl Horn like for instance decided to try to sit it out, or?

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough discusses the progression of the strike after UMWA moved its focus to Highsplint, Kentucky. He specifically talks about some of the litigation that went on between Eastover Mining Company and United Mine Workers of America.

Keywords: Arnold Miller; Carl Horn, Jr.; Duke Power Company; Eastover Mining Company; Labor board; Logan Patterson

Subjects: Coal Miners' Strike, Harlan County, Ky., 1973.; Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining--Kentucky; United Mine Workers of America; United States--Trials, litigation, etc.

01:00:38 - Life after the strike / Personal relationships

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Partial Transcript: Well tell me then, what happened next when you came home?

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough talks about the union community's celebration after the strike and the animosity towards management. He also discusses his choices to stay in Harlan County and become involved in new ways with the community, especially the development of a newspaper and housing.

Keywords: 'The Eastover Miner'; Carl Horn, Jr.; Citizens' Public Inquiry; Eastbrook; Housing; Newspapers; Shelby Wilson

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Coal Miners' Strike, Harlan County, Ky., 1973.; Collective labor agreements--Coal mining industry; Community organization.; United Mine Workers of America

01:17:22 - End of his coal career

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Partial Transcript: And what did you concentrate on then for the next few years?

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough talks about his decision to retire when he learned that Eastover Mining Company would be closing. He reviews his choices while running the mine after the strike, but before the closure. Yarborough discusses his move into the retail industry.

Keywords: Duke Power Company; Eastover Mining Company; Headhunters; Health issues; Public Service Commission; Retail; Retirement

Subjects: Coal mines and mining; Entrepreneurship; Families.; Occupations.

01:28:02 - Predictions about industry and unions

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Partial Transcript: When you--so you all tried the newspaper and you did a lot of kind of family-oriented company as family-oriented activities.

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough discusses his views on the future of industries including coal and oil. He also talks about the future of unions. He discusses the need for economic moderation and statesmanship.

Keywords: Economics; Moderation; Oil; Saudi Arabia; Statesmanship; Unions

Subjects: Coal mines and mining; Coal.; Economic & investment strategy. Market timing; Economic & social affairs; Oil & Energy Enterprises

01:35:26 - Retirement / Future of Harlan

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Partial Transcript: You have any future business interests?

Segment Synopsis: Yarborough talks about how he spends his free time and plans for retirement. He also reviews his current life in context of his childhood expectations. He discusses the lack of leadership in Harlan today.

Keywords: Carl Horn, Jr.; Childhood; Commodities; Fishing; Leadership; Publishing; Retirement; Unprivileged

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Entrepreneurship.; Families.; Occupations.; Recreation