Northern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Chasing Benefits: Widows of Miners and the Black Lung Benefits Act

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

The significance of our research is to help explain the Black Lung Benefits Act, its aid to mining families and the migration of those mining families in Kentucky. The Congressional Records of former Representative Marion “Gene” Snyder are being processed in the Archives of Northern Kentucky University, where they have been stagnate for 20 years. Within these boxes are sporadic folders of black lung cases which surface around the early 1970s. Research revealed that there are no coal mines in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, Snyder’s district. In fact, the nearest mine is miles away to the south. This led us to question the reasons for the black lung cases to appear in Representative Snyder’s papers and why these cases appeared in the early 1970s. Our research involved a multi-faceted approach to understanding the appearance of black lung cases in a district in which there were no coal mines. We researched why these people were writing, who was writing and the migration of those people from mining towns to Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District. Also, our projected discusses the Black Lung Benefits Act and the speed at which the government acted on those cases. This research is beneficial in understanding the relationship between the miner, his family and the government in the western edge of Appalachia. It also helps identify the human migration of miners and their families and the government’s aid to miners who contracted pneumoconiosis, otherwise known as black lung.

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Chasing Benefits: Widows of Miners and the Black Lung Benefits Act

The significance of our research is to help explain the Black Lung Benefits Act, its aid to mining families and the migration of those mining families in Kentucky. The Congressional Records of former Representative Marion “Gene” Snyder are being processed in the Archives of Northern Kentucky University, where they have been stagnate for 20 years. Within these boxes are sporadic folders of black lung cases which surface around the early 1970s. Research revealed that there are no coal mines in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, Snyder’s district. In fact, the nearest mine is miles away to the south. This led us to question the reasons for the black lung cases to appear in Representative Snyder’s papers and why these cases appeared in the early 1970s. Our research involved a multi-faceted approach to understanding the appearance of black lung cases in a district in which there were no coal mines. We researched why these people were writing, who was writing and the migration of those people from mining towns to Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District. Also, our projected discusses the Black Lung Benefits Act and the speed at which the government acted on those cases. This research is beneficial in understanding the relationship between the miner, his family and the government in the western edge of Appalachia. It also helps identify the human migration of miners and their families and the government’s aid to miners who contracted pneumoconiosis, otherwise known as black lung.