1979 photos of miners’ lives, working conditions displayed

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The University of Louisville is displaying a collection of black-and-white photographs that were taken nearly 40 years ago to document the living and working conditions of coal miners.

Louisville photographer Ted Wathen worked as principal photographer for President Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Commission on Coal, a 1979 study begun after a 110-day national coal strike.

Wathen and four other photographers worked on the project. Wathen photographed in Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Illinois.

More than 50 photos Wathen took during the project are on display through March 17 in the Photographic Archives Gallery of the Ekstrom Library. Exhibit hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Many of the photos were published in the commission’s report and were exhibited at the White House and the International Center of Photography. The exhibit prints and negatives are housed in the National Archives.


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