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Council of the Southern Mountains 1970-1989 Online Exhibit

An online exhibit of the work and history of the Council of Southern Mountains - 1970 to 1989 created by Laura Anne Heller, Project Archivist, 2004-2006.


Richard Nixon - 1969-1974 - U.S. President
  • CSM Fontana Meeting, North Carolina: Membership faces controversy and conflict. Members vote on activist resolutions and 51% poor people on Board.
  • New Commissions established for new Council members: Black Appalachian Commission, Youth Commission, and Poor People's Self-Help Commission.
  • Phil Young, CSM President.
  • Black Lung Movement sparks massive wildcat strikes for compensation legislation.
  • Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 passed by Congress.
  • "Jock" Yablonski and family murdered after challenges to Tony Boyle's leadership of UMWA.
  • Appalachian Research and Defense Fund founded in West Virginia.

Perley F. Ayer
Perley F. Ayer, 1963.
Photo: Unknown
SAA 101, 237-1


Brookside wives
"Members of the Brookside Women's Club, who helped lead the UMWA strike at Eastover's Brookside mine, staple issues of Mountain Life & Work for use on their picket line."
Photo: Unknown
SAA 101, 234-16


Testing for Brown Lung
"Former textile worker has breathing
tested at clinic, 1975."
Photo: Frank Blechman, Jr.
SAA 101, 253-17


Moment of Silence for Miners
"Moment of Silence for Miners Killed this Year."
Photo: Unknown
SAA 101, 246-50



  • CSM Lake Junaluska Meeting, North Carolina: Several resignations of executive staff of CSM, ML&W & most programs due to controversial discussions.
  • Jones replaced by "Troika" of Warren Wright, Julian Griggs, and Ike Vanderpool.
  • Office of Economic Opportunity and foundation funding for CSM drying up.
  • Loyal Jones lists 3 Crises facing CSM (Money/Management/Purpose).
  • Hyden Mine Disaster, Clay County, Kentucky: 38 miners killed in explosion in Finley mine.


  • CSM Conference in Berea, Kentucky: Features reports and leadership of community activists.
  • President: James Somerville; Vice-President: Edith Easterling; Secretary: Dan Hendrickson; Treasurer: George Brosi.
  • "March for Survival" in Washington, DC, opposing Nixon's HR 1, combined forces of Welfare and Black Lung Associations.
  • Hyden Mine Hearings.
  • Council staff moves into "collective" structure, with no coordinator or executive director.
  • CSM's Executive Director helped found Save Our Kentucky (SOK).
  • Contract strike for UMWA nationwide.
  • "People Speak Out Against Strip Mining": Wise, Virginia hearings
  • Appalachian Volunteers disband.
  • CSM's 60th Annual Meeting, Pipestem, West Virginia.
  • President: James Somerville; Vice-President: Edith Easterling; Secretary: Anne Leibig; Treasurer: George Brosi.
  • Buffalo Creek Dam Breaks, Logan County, West Virginia.
  • CSM office moved to Clintwood, Virginia.
  • Council members change structure to include direct representation of community groups on CSM Board.
  • Black Lung Association wins major reforms in federal black lung compensation programs.
  • Pikeville Hospital strike, 1972-1975.
  • Miners for Democracy defeated Tony Boyle's leadership in first democratic election in UMWA history.


  • CSM Conference, Emory & Henry College, Virginia: CSM initiates Community Unions and Mine Health and Safety Programs.
  • President: Mart Shepherd; Vice-President: Mike Smathers; Secretary: Clayton Jackson; Treasurer: Almetor King
  • Several Welfare Rights Organizations (WRO) in southeast Virginia broaden to found the Citizens for Social and Economic Justice (CSEJ).
  • Brookside Strike, Harlan County, 1973-1974.
  • CSM Bookstore doubled inventory and sales in 1972-1973.
  • Mountain Life & Work Special Issue in April on Textile Strikes.
  • ML&W Special Issue on Education.
  • Board of Commissioners name changed to Board of Representatives.
  • CORA's Appalachian Development Project Committee (ADPC) formed.
  • UMWA Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Gerald Ford - U.S. President 1974-1977.
  • CSM 62nd Annual Meeting, Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky: Splits membership over by-laws in attempt to certify formal representation on CSM Board.
  • Mart Shepherd, CSM President; Mike Smathers, CSM Vice-President; Secretary: Beth Bingham; Treasurer: Almetor King
  • ML&W Special Issue on Women.
  • CSM Community Unions Program (CSEJs) and Elmer Rasnick.
  • CSM Staff gained Sally Ward Maggard and Dan Hendrickson.
  • CSM Board abandons staff collective model to provide for office manager for Clintwood office.
  • UMWA Contract Strike nationwide.
  • HEAD was formed as Economic Development task force (spin off from CORA).
  • Urban Affairs Commission in essence replaced by Urban Appalachian Council in Cincinnati.
  • CSM Annual Conference, Richlands, Virginia: Passed by-laws which changed "Commissions" from program areas to autonomous organizations and recognized direct representation as main structure of "Board of Representatives."
  • Mart Shepherd, CSM President; Vice-President: Madeline James; Secretary: Helen Powell; Almetor King, CSM Treasurer
  • UMWA Organizing drive in eastern Kentucky ground down with losses at Denham, Arjay, Highsplint, Martin County, and Magoffin Counties (1974-1975).
  • Mountain Life & Work celebrated 50th Anniversary in two "Special Anniversary Issues."
  • ML&W doubled its size to 48-pages and dramatically mushroomed use of photos.
  • Appalachian Coalition against strip mining founded.
  • Carolina Brown Lung Association founded, and began organizing several chapters among textile workers in North and South Carolina.
  • Mike Maloney - Keynote speaker, gives speech "We Learned a Lot in the 60s." Says CSM has become working class. Promoted local groups rather than mountain culture of education. Asks how professional or well-educated people can continue to be a part of CSM.


Save Our Georgetown Committee
Save Our Georgetown Committee members Wylda Harbin and Reva Carter talk with CSM.
Photo: Alan Brody
SAA 101, 249-23


Women Miners at Westmoreland
"Mary Fatony and Marilyn Vocke work the evening shift at Westmoreland, Wentz No. 1 Mine, June 1979."
Photo: Jackie Van Anda
SAA 101, 242-12


Virginia Flood
Virginia Flood, 1977
Photo: Cathy Stanley
SAA 101, 254-14


Anti-Klan Rally
"Crowd at February 2, 1980 Anti-Klan Rally, Greensboro, NC. Crowd estimates ran from 3500-7000 people."
Photo: Bob Gessner
SAA 101, 250-21


   Save Our Cumberland Mountains
Save Our Cumberland Mountains
Photo: Cathy Stanley
SAA 101, 249-28




   Buchanan County CSEJ
Buchanan County CSEJ Garden Co-Op.
Photo: Unknown
SAA 101, 247-22


   CSM staff
Ben Poage, Almetor King, and Mike Henson
Photo: Cathy Stanley
SAA 101, 237-3


  • CSM 64th Annual Meeting, Clifftop, West Virginia.
  • President: Mart Shepherd; Secretary: Helen Powell; Treasurer: Almetor King
  • CSEJs began organizing for economic development projects, including small-scale farm and house coal projects.
  • Knott County Food Store opened, with broadest support of regional groups and funding sources of any project.
  • Bill Worthington, CSM Mine Health & Safety Project.
  • Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM).
  • Stearns Strike began in July against Blue Diamond (1976-1979).
  • Workers' Rights.
  • UMWA Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Chronology of Events Surrounding Scotia Disaster
    • March 8, 1976 - Federal inspector, Cecil Davis, found three violations of federal mine ventilation laws.
    • March 9, 1976 - Just before Noon, the first explosion occurred in 2 Southeast Section. MESA personnel took charge of operations at 1:15 p.m.
    • March 10, 1976 - In the Early morning, rescue team recovered all fifteen bodies and withdrew from the mine.
    • March 11, 1976 - Exploration crew entered the mine. Just before midnight, a second explosion was reported.
    • March 12, 1976 - All eleven bodies located at 12:07 p.m. 27th life claimed, Herschel Foutch killed wile driving to mine site where his son-in-law was trapped in 2nd explosion.
    • March 13, 1976 - Decision to seal the mine.
    • March 15, 1976 - Memorial services for men killed in mine disaster held in Cumberland, KY.
    • March 16, 1976 - Project of sealing the mine began; within a few days, all openings sealed completely.
    • March 17, 1976 - 28th life claimed; Scotia employee James Houston, workmate of fifteen dead, took his own life.
    • March 21, 1976 - Memorial services held in Whitesburg, Kentucky.
    • March 24-25, 30-31, 1976 - Senate subcommittee on Labor began hearing testimony in regard to mine disaster.
    • March 30, 1976 - Scotia Coal Co. Attorneys met with widows concerning compensation settlements.
    • April 5-9, 1976 - Interior Department's hearings in Whitesburg, Kentucky.


Jimmy Carter - U.S. President, 1977-1981.
  • Annual Meeting, Hindman Settlement School, Hindman, Kentucky: CSM elected first woman president, Judy McKinney.
  • President: Judy McKinney; Vice-President: Almetor King; Secretary: Helen Powell; Treasurer: Winifred D. Hagans
  • Dan Hendrickson officially is elected by the Board as "Coordinator" in Fall 1977.
  • Congress finally passed Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, Black Lung Compensation Reform Act, and Reform Act on Mine Safety and Health.
  • CSM becomes first safety representative of coal miners in non-UMWA mine.
  • UMWA Contract Strike began (longest in history).
  • J.P. Stevens Strike.
  • Appalachian Alliance founded in Williamson, West Virginia.
  • Worst floods hit all major river watershed areas of central Appalachia. Most organizations responded with flood-recovery work.
  • ML&W Issue tributes Scotia Anniversary.
  • President: Judy McKinney; Vice-President: Almetor King; Secretary: Helen Powell; Treasurer: Winifred D. Hagans
  • Blue Diamond Strike.
  • UMWA cuts health benefits.
  • CSM and UMW file petition to U.S. Department of Labor about requiring self-rescuers.
  • As contract strike ended, Jericol and other strikes continued all year, ending in earl 1979.
  • Appalachian Studies Conference founded, and held first conference at Berea College
  • CSM experimented with first federal money in nine years: a CETA contract for 5 then 9 labor positions.
  • Community groups throughout the region tried VISTA contracts again.
  • The farm and garden projects throughout Appalachian expanded with a donation of 50 tons of fertilizer from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
  • ML&W prints Special Issue on Textile industry and Brown Lung in September.
  • Coalition of Appalachian Energy Consumers (CAEC) founded.


  • CSM Board meets first time in Cincinnati and hosted by Urban Appalachian Council.
  • President: Judy McKinney; Vice-President: Almetor King; Secretary: Carl "Jake" Ritchie; Treasurer: Mike Henson
  • CSM Fontana Meeting's 10th Anniversary.
  • Southern Appalachian Archives at Berea College opens Council files from 1913-1970.
  • Bookstore began operation of Mobile Bookstore.
  • Southwest Virginia finally won federal legal services after 10 years of trying: Client-Centered Legal Services founded and funded.
  • ML&W published Special Issues on "Housing in Central Appalachia" in the January-February issue, and "Women Coal Miners" in the July-August issue.
  • Sorghum Alliance founded.
  • First National Conference of Women Coal Miners held in Institute, West Virginia.
  • CSM 68th Annual Conference, London, Kentucky.
  • President: Almetor King; Vice-President: Ben Poage; Secretary: Carl "Jake" Ritchie; Treasurer: Mike Henson
  • Presentation by Office of Surface Mining (OSM) about strip mine reclamation.
  • CSM evicted from Clintwood office by building's new owner.
  • Scotia Widows get $5.9 million settlement from Blue Diamond.
  • Sally Ward Maggard recognized for her four years of work on Scotia Mine Disaster.
Ronald Reagan - U.S. President, 1981-1989.
  • CSM 69th Annual Meeting, Dickenson County, Virginia.
  • President: Almetor King; Vice-President: Ben Poage; Secretary: Joyce Dukes; Treasurer: Mike Henson
  • CSM working to get company compliance with 1969 Mine Safety Act about self-rescuers.
  • Thomas Galloway recognized for legal work in DC for CSM, 1976-1981, about mine safety issues.

   Sparky Rucker
"Sparky Rucker paused before performing at the 1983 Appalachian Studies Conference as a regional black musician."
Photo: Chris Nichols
SAA 101, 240-23


Citizens for Social and Economic Organization
Photo: Cathy Stanley
SAA 101, 249-2




     Deer Lodge Clinic
"Deer Lodge Clinic, Wartburg. Mrs. Helen Own, LPN, is on the left. She is the new family health worker. November 1975."
Photo: Karen Kasmauski
SAA 101, 240-25


  • CSM 70th Annual Meeting, Knoxville, Tennessee: "Energy in Cooperation."
  • President: Almetor King; Vice-President: Ben Poage; Secretary: Joyce Dukes; Treasurer: Mike Henson
  • $30,000 Budget cut.
  • Resolutions about Anti-Klan, cannery workers' strike.
  • Appalachian Development Fund control.
  • Yellow Creek Concerned Citizens presentation.
  • President: Almetor King; Vice-President: Pete Wicker; Secretary: Mike Henson; Treasurer: Andrew Baskin
  • CSM and SOCM give testimony about OSM's lack of enforcement.


  • CSM 72nd Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • President: Almetor King; Vice-President: Jerry Johnson; Secretary: Mike Henson; Treasurer: Andrew Baskin
  • Cathy Stanley is Acting Director.
  • Money problems.
  • Dan Hendrickson begins sabbatical.
  • Mike Maloney gives keynote speech, "Seeds of Destruction."
  • Advertising for ML&W Coordinator.
  • Chapter 11 Filing, due to poor management and loss of grants.
  • $140,000 in debt; Grant income is $34,000.
  • Membership down to 1,300; had been 4,600 in 1979.
  • CSM Mining-Community Health and Safety Program: Talk to and confront families, share grief, vent, suggest legal help when appropriate, photo documentation.
  • Citizens strip mining monitoring network: Interface with OSM, record abuses, bring citizens legal pressure.
  • CSM: 3 full-time and 4 part-time staff.
  • CORA and ADPC deny funds for CSM.
  • CSM 73rd Annual Meeting, Knott County.
  • President: Nunna Hensley-See; Vice-President: Mart Shepherd; Secretary: Mike Henson
  • Out of bankruptcy.
  • 2 full-time staff at minimum wage.
  • $20,000 grant from a NC foundation.
  • CSM 74th Annual Meeting, Breaks Interstate Park, Virginia.
  • President: Nunna Hensley-See; Acting Director: Cathy Stanley

   Brown Lung Association








"Cecil Johnson, past chairman of the SC Brown Lung Association, presents statement to Sarah Leverette, chair of the SC Industrial Commission, charging her with pre-judging compensation claims." 1976
Photo: Michael B. Russell
SAA 101, 253-18

  • ML&W Issue on Black Appalachians, April-June.
  • ML&W Issue on Urban Appalachians, October-December.
  • CSM disbands.