Interview with Joseph A. Scopa, August 19, 1986

Project: Appalachia: Immigrants in the Coal Fields Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

In this second interview with Joseph Scopa, an Italian immigrant, he discusses mine safety and his role in the Miners for Democracy Movement. Scopa credits the United Mine Workers of America with improving safety in the mines. After unionization, a miner did not lose his job for refusing to work in an unsafe mine.

Scopa talks extensively about his experiences in the Miners for Democracy Movement. He contends that Tony Boyle and other union leaders had turned the U.M.W.A. into a dictatorship. Scopa decided to join Jock Yablonski and Arnold Miller in their fight against Boyle. After Yablonski and his family were murdered in Pennsylvania by Boyle's assassins, Scopa was told to leave the District 19 area. Instead he received F.B.I. protection. Miller eventually became president of the U.M.W.A., and Boyle was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Scopa also discusses passage of a black lung compensation bill for miners suffering from pneumoconiosis. Also of interest is his assessment of several U.M.W.A. presidents he has known.

Interview Accession

1986oh273_app081

Interviewee Name

Joseph A. Scopa

Interviewer Name

Doug Cantrell

Interview Date

1986-08-19

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Scopa, Joseph A. Interview by Doug Cantrell. 19 Aug. 1986. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Scopa, J.A. (1986, August 19). Interview by D. Cantrell. Appalachia: Immigrants in the Coal Fields Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Scopa, Joseph A., interview by Doug Cantrell. August 19, 1986, Appalachia: Immigrants in the Coal Fields Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7dfn10qt00