Item no. 28133
Occupation: Mining
Collection: Union
Sprinkle Coal Dust On My Grave ," a song written in 1933 by Orville J. Jenks, a UMWA member from Welch, West Virginia, who achieved some fame as a song writer. Note the reference to Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, labor heroine and a favorite of the workers.
Image courtesy of the United Mine Workers of America.
See the Labor Arts exhibit Sixteen Tons for related images.
Sprinkle Coal Dust On My Grave

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.

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