Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Angelene Harmon, March 19, 1994

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Interviewing Angelene Harmon. [Silence] And it's, uh, March the 19th, 1994.

Segment Synopsis: Harmon gives some basic information about herself. A rough outline of the questions that will be asked in the interview is mentioned. Personal contact information has been muted in this version.

Keywords: Angelene Harmon; Caretta (W.Va.)

00:01:02 - Family history

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Partial Transcript: I'd like to ask you about your parents and your grandparents. What their names were, when they came here, what their jobs were...

Segment Synopsis: There is some discussion of Harmon's parents and grandparents. Her maternal grandparents were from Panther, West Virginia. Her father immigrated from northern Italy. She also talks about her siblings.

Keywords: Family Members--Grandparents; Family Members--Parents; Italy; Logan County (W.Va.); McDowell County (W.Va.); coal mines

00:05:46 - Childhood experiences

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Partial Transcript: After you, so, uh, you grew up in the coal fields. And when, when did your, uh, uh, when did you start growing up? In the 30's?

Segment Synopsis: Harmon describes what the Great Depression was like to live through. Her family was fortunate because they never went hungry. She talks about why her family moved to War, in addition to describing her family life growing up there.

Keywords: Big Creek High School; Caretta (W.Va.); Great Depression; War (W.Va.); coal camps; coal mines; education; food; layoffs; unions

00:09:56 - Employment

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Partial Transcript: Okay, uh, so, when you graduated in 1941, what happened then? Did you get married, go to work?

Segment Synopsis: Angelene Harmon worked as a riveter during World War II. However, she had to return home to care for her ailing mother and younger siblings. She worked in several department stores after that.

Keywords: Michigan; War (W.Va.); World War II; airplane wings; careers; department stores; family; riveting

Subjects: World War II

00:11:33 - Married life

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Partial Transcript: Did, did, did you get married in, in the '40s? No, I didn't get married...well, yeah in '49. Got married in '49, and how many children...

Segment Synopsis: Harmon tells when she got married and talks about her children. She was a house wife. There is some discussion on the difference between raising children when she did and raising children today (the mid 1990's).

Keywords: children; married life

00:13:33 - Strong union person

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Partial Transcript: Now, what, I guess it says here on your sheet, as I said, strong union person. Uh-huh, uh-huh. What, where do we, where does this come in?

Segment Synopsis: Harmon strongly supports and believes in unions because without them, the wives of late miners would not have the pensions that they now have (at the time of the interview). There was some racial stereotyping due to her father being Italian. She did not actively participate in the union because she did not see at as something that women did.

Keywords: family; gender roles; pensions; union benefits

00:18:19 - Changes in the coal fields

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so what, after then having, having, uh, spent your life in War. What, uh, you've seen all these, I guess your kids grew up...

Segment Synopsis: She talks about how things have changed and are still changing in the coal fields. The health risks of mining are discussed and what can be done to improve both the health and benefits of miners.

Keywords: black lung; changes; coal mines; health issues; miners; retirement

00:21:29 - Future prospects

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Partial Transcript: Um, well, what do you see happening in the future? In the mines? Or in, not necessarily in the mines, what do you see in the future?

Segment Synopsis: She discusses the decline of the mines. She also comments on her son, who has a business degree and was working in a large mine that closed soon after the time of the interview, and welfare dependency. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: War (W.Va.); coal mines; future prospects; welfare