July 2021

This episode of Everywhere Extra spotlights the intersection of labor and civil rights with an interview with Charles “Boomer” Winfrey, founder of the Coal Creek Miners Museum.

The Coal Creek War was a violent dispute that started in 1891 when southern states were desperate for money, and some decided to create what was called the convict lease system where anyone sentenced to year or more in prison would be eligible to be leased out to companies.  Many were sent to the coal mines. 

Whitney Kimball Coe went with Austin Sauerbrei, who is writing a graphic novel on the Coal Creek War and whose illustrations you’ll see in the video, to speak with Boomer Winfrey who oversees the Coal Creek Miners Museum in Rocky Top, TN.  Boomer tells a fascinating story of the convict lease system and how it sparked a war in the heart of Tennessee’s coal mining region.