[Louisville, KY: Courier Journal & Louisville Times, 1965]. First Edition. Photographs taken in November, 1965, when Mrs. Ollie Combs and two of her sons sat down in protest in front of bulldozers in order to prevent the Caperton Coal Company from strip mining her land in Honey Gap, Knott County, Kentucky. The event made national news when she was arrested and carried down the mountain under the supervision of Knott County sheriff Oliver Hylton. The photographer was also arrested and apparently smuggled the film to his editors in Louisville while he and Combs spent Thanksgiving, 1965, in jail. The Kentucky governor at the time, Edward Breathitt, was opposed to strip mining and used the news as an example, urging state police to cease aiding coal operators "in the enforcement of legal rights by the rich and powerful against the humble people of a community." In 1966 Breathitt signed legislation, known as the "Widow Combs" bill, which imposed restrictions on strip mining, including restoring mined land "to approximate original contour." The present photographs all show "the widow Combs" in various poses of sober protest in front of a bull dozer, the last of her sitting handcuffed at the feet of two Kentucky State Troopers, Sheriff Hylton standing over her. References: Chad Montrie, To Save the Land and People (2003); Erik Reece (Wendell Berry, foreword), Lost Mountain (2007). Seven original photographs, each measuring 35.5x28cm. (or the reverse), with production stamps and ink and pencil manuscript annotations to versos. Apparently submitted to the American Heritage Magazine in 1967, all with the magazine's "Reject" stamp. (Inventory #: 28136)
The history, literature, and art of American social movements, including Civil Rights, Feminism, Labor History, Radical Politics, and Counterculture.
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