These coal miners from Birmingham and Walker County, Alabama had no idea that when they went to work one cold morning in February of 1937 that their pictures would be taken by photojournalists, Arthur Rothstein and preserved in the Library of Congress forever. I’m sure they were thinking of the drudgery in their day ahead. I wish we had the identity of these men.
Rothstein is recognized as one of America’s premier photojournalists. His career spanned five decades. He worked for the the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1937.
The incentive for his February 1937 assignment came from the interest generated by congressional consideration of farm tenant legislation sponsored in the Senate by John H. Bankhead, a moderate Democrat from Alabama with a strong interest in agriculture. Enacted in July, the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act gave the agency its new lease on life as the Farm Security Administration.
No names of the men were recorded, only their faces remain as they prepared for a hard day at work. Feel free to list names of the men you can identify in the Reply section at the bottom of this page. I’ve numbered the pictures to identify them.
1. Alabama coal miner, Bankhead Mines, Walker County, Alabama
2. Bankhead Mines, Walker County, Alabama by Arthur Rothstein 1937
3. Alabama coal miners, Bankhead Mines, Walker County, Alabama
4. Alabama coal miners, Bankhead Mines, Walker County, Alabama
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