Book Excerpts from Miner Injustice the Ragman’s War


“Ragman was sure the coal alliance would never sign the Jacksonville Agreement. A basic wage of $7.50 for eight hours of work was too big a pay jump from $6.25. Hell, the alliance was trying to cut back the wage to $6.00. No, he was sure a strike would start at midnight as promised. Tomorrow it would be official, and he would have to make plans to find a new job. He was thirty-three years old, married, and had two young boys aged four and six. (p.11.)


“A tall, powerfully built uniformed man strutted along the footpath that led to the playground.  At that moment, a shiver ran up the back of Ragman’s brain.  ‘Looks like a new Black Boot in town,’ he said.” (p.17.)


“Ragman saw eviction notices posted to the houses as he drove through No. 2.  The place was a flurry of activity.” (p.42)


“Gunshots shattered the rear window.  A bullet slammed into the dashboard between the two men.  The force of the bullet caused the startled driver to veer the car sharply to the right.  It rolled down the embankment into the creek, flipped, and landed passenger side down.  (p.53)


“You know you can never scrub off all the coal. After so many years it is part of me.” (p.85)

Vapor from the smoldering bony was the subtlest of enemies. While the wind can be shut out by closed windows and cold eliminated by fire, caustic vapor oozed through cracks in the walls and under the door while people slept. Its corrosiveness, so powerful that it peeled paint off walls, rotted wood, rusted metal, and ate away the lungs of those that slumbered.  Page 100


“There was no money to pay an undertaker for either funeral. Stan Waloski made the caskets and loaned the cemetery plots. His explanation to Ragman had been that his youngest children wouldn’t need them for a long time, if ever.”  (p.113)


“He didn’t have to look far to find misery these days.  All he had to do was look at Ludie and how she had changed during the past few months.  She was as drab and lifeless as the skies had been all winter, a dreary gray—the kind that bends into darkness before it lightens and all hell breaks loose.”  (p.150)


“Unrest brewed among the strikers. Those who grew impatient with the union were targets of company agents who tried to lure them back to work.” (p. 187)


“’The hired thugs got hold of him and beat him up pretty bad.  They dumped him in our car.  We were told to get out of town and not come back.’”  (p.192)


“There are no safety standards in the mines because the owners consider the miner expendable and easily replaced.  Explosions and falls are so commonplace that there is an accident somewhere in the state of Pennsylvania almost every day.” (p.240)


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