1. Display Overhead 1 as students walk in. As a class,
read the statement.
Introductory Statement: The lure of a better life,
Moving from one country to another.
The U.S. is defined by its diverse ethnic make-up.
Today, most Americans can claim to be descendants from
who came from Europe, Asia, Africa, or from countries
from elsewhere in the Americas.. Arriving as immigrants
they worked to create new lives for themselves. A dominant
pull factor was the lure of a better life than in their
homeland (land of their birth). Many came and willingly
worked in pursuit of the dream of an improved life.
Their willingness was often taken advantage of. However,
they became citizens and their descendants were born
American, they became aware of their rights as set
out by their new homeland, the United States. No longer
global nomads but now sedentary nationalists, Americans
explored how best to achieve access to their inalienable
Social, political, and economic movements defined
equality and challenged how people should live
to have access
to a fulfilling lifestyle arose. Amidst this
were workers’ movements
organized through unions. These workers brought
to attention poor working conditions, low wages,
and long hours to
a more socially conscious nation.
2. End by noting today students will understand why
workers felt the need to unite.
Notes: The mine workers since time immemorial worked
in unhealthy air conditions in which limited air in
underground conditions surrounded by exploding dust
and noise and
explosive chemicals jeopardized their lungs and other
internal organs. Not a new problem, it was none-the-less
a problem that finally been addressed through unionization
in 1890 when the United Mine Workers of America was
3. Hand each student a copy of Handout 1.
4. Have students take turns reading out loud in class.
5. Have students answer the following questions in
their notes through class discussion.
is addressed in this reading?
- Explain the working conditions in the mines.
it hazardous? How so?
is working in the mines? Men, women, children.
is a typical work day?
- What is a typical wage?
are sanitary conditions?
6. When done, collect articles and give students
Handouts 2 and 3 and tell them to
quietly read the articles in class. (10 minutes)
7. Have students address the following questions:
Define Black lung disease and its’ causes.
Define the UMWA and its’ accomplishments.
- What action was taken by the government to regulate and
Lung disease? (Give dates and legislation.)
Black Lung disease been eradicated? Explain.
Important UMWA dates:
- Shorter working hours (an 8-hour day by 1898)
- Collective bargaining rights (1933)
- Health and retirement benefits (1946)
and safety protections (1969)
By persistently addressing worker rights, attention
was drawn to health conditions developed from
such closed air conditions in which exposure
to dust, chemicals, and noise was
8. Review what was learned about the UMWA
- Students should identify importance of fighting for equal
rights in the work place
- Students should be able to address raised health awareness
- Students should be aware of current situation with Black
Discussion and participation in class