July 19, 2010

Ghosts In The Hollow


Ghosts in the Hollow from Jim Lo Scalzo on Vimeo.

This short video by Jim Lo Scalzo was not shot locally but it's very familiar territory just the same. The decaying buildings and rusting mine cars are things that can be seen from Pennsylvania to Alabama. The images (mostly all are still photographs) pull you into the story that the song makes. This and one other of this artists' multimedia pieces were recently recognized with awards from the White House News Photographers Association. His other videos, though unrelated to coal mining, are well worth a look.

The song is called Sprinkle Coal Dust On My Grave and was written in 1933 by Orville J Jenks of  Welch, W. Va.


I'm just an old coal miner
And I labored for my bread;
This story in my memory I hear told;
For the sake of wife and baby
How a miner risks his life
For the price of just a little lump of coal.

Mother Jones is not forgotten
By the miners of this field,
She's gone to rest above, God bless her soul;
Tried to lead the boys to victory.
But was punished here in jail,
For the price of just a little lump of coal.

When a man has toiled and labored
'Til his life it's almost gone,
Then the operator thinks he's just a fool:
They sneak around and fire him
Just because he's growing old,
And swear they caught him breaking company rules.

Don't forget me, little darling,
When they lay me down to rest,
Tell my brothers all these loving words I say;
Let the flowers be forgotten,
Sprinkle coal dust on my grave
In remembrance of the UMWA.

1 comment:

jan said...

I grew up in Brownsville and have my great grandfather Andrew Duff's journal of mine disasters in England and the US. Enjoyed the video immensely. Just found talking with my uncle who was the youngest pilot on the Monongahela that his dad, my grandfather, was involved in a violent struggle to unionize Lily Mine between West Brownsville and California with Jock Yablonski. Bye for now.