Coal mined from the Appalachian mountains has provided inexpensive
energy to consumers of electricity in the United States for centuries,
and for centuries this energy has come at enormous environmental
and personal cost to residents of the region. The deaths of 24 miners
in the early months of 2006 bring to the fore once again the dire
safety conditions still to be found in the coal mines.
|In tribute to those who lost their lives
this year, and in solidarity with the families and colleagues who
continue working to improve conditions, Labor Arts presents a retrospective
of photographs by Builder Levy from the mines
and mining communities of Appalachia from 1968-1982.
|Photographer Builder Levy first traveled
to Appalachia to photograph coal miners in 1968. Since that time,
he has made many return visits to photograph the life and culture
of the mountain coal miner, building a socially and esthetically significant
collection of photographs of which these are but a sampling. Levy
has worked as a photographer and as a teacher of at-risk students
in the New York City schools for over three decades, and both callings
reveal his social conscience and his sense of responsibility.
|Do you think about mountain top removal
or miners dying when you waste a little energy just because you can?
The connection between individual citizens' lives and the ravages
of coal mining can be seen as coal- fired plants play an increased
role in recent energy plans, while conservation lags. Mining coal
by removing entire mountain tops is the biggest threat Appalachian
mine communities face in the new millennium. Builder Levy's recent
photographs of this process can be seen in the photo essay "Revisiting
the Appalachian Coalfield."
a multi-disciplinary arts and education center based in Whitesburg
Diane Gilliam Fisher, Kettle Bottom (Perugia Press, 2004), poetry that speaks of "the emotional truth of coal-camp history," in the words of one reviewer.
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth has developed the Canary Project
[link to ] to raise
awareness about the dangers from coal.
"The High Cost of Cheap Coal" in the March 2006 National
Environmental Coalition, residents of Appalachia fighting the
destruction of mountain-top removal mining.
Mine Workers of America, featuring the March 2006 testimony about
safety in coal mines from union president Cecil E. Roberts before
the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.