Past Event

Down in the Mine: American Coal Miners and Their Songs, 1890-1960

Harry Fain coal loader
Coal loader in Appalachia, 1946

A Road Scholar Program by Bucky Halker

Coal miners in Illinois and the rest of the US have a long tradition of writing poetry and music related to their occupation. This program brings that tradition to the forefront. “Down in the Mine” combines music performance (guitar and vocal) and spoken commentary.

The presentation features songs and poems by coal miners, including Illinois miners. The commentary places this important folk tradition in a broader historical context and offers details on coal mining, coal-miner bards and songwriters, early country music, and individual songs.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Judy Simpson at

Learn more about Bucky Halker, this program, and how to book it.