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Workers with the United Mine Workers Union Local 4467 went out on strike against the Fentress Coal and Coke Company in Wilder, Tennessee. The company brought in workers from other areas of the state to work the mines. They were called scabs or strikebreakers by the striking miners.
Howard and Alice Keester were at a coal mine in Tennessee where coal miners were striking. Three strikers died. On the night of April 30, 1933, the president of the miner’s union at Wilder Tennessee and the leader of the striking miners, Byron “Barney” Graham, was shot and killed in front of the Wilder Commissary by two mine guards. Witness accounts vary greatly, but it was told that an unarmed Graham was shot ten times and beaten in the head. Jack “Shorty” Green and Doc Thompson were were the two guards that were said to have killed Barney. Green was later acquitted of the murder charges in a trial at Jamestown and Doc Thompson was never actually charged. The death of Barney Graham ended the strike and the remaining miners either moved away from the area or went back to work.
Fellowship of Reconciliation USA (FOR-USA) is the largest interfaith peace fellowship leading the charge on today’s most pressing human and civil rights issues through advocacy, activism, and educational programs.