Interview with Dan Jack Combs, September 17, 1993
Project: Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project
Interview SummaryDan Jack Combs served as legal counsel for the Appalachian Volunteers (AVs) arrested for sedition in Pike County and those subjected to the KUAC (Kentucky Un-American Activities) hearings held in Pikeville. Combs voices his opinions about the AVs and what they tried to accomplish in the mountains during the 1960s. Combs believes that the AVs, including Joe Mulloy, were sincere, conscientious individuals who saw the coal operators as the source of the inequities in Appalachia, and sought to alleviate the suffering of the poor. Combs states that this action brought the Appalachian Volunteers in direct conflict, especially in Pike County, with those who sought to maintain the status quo – the Independent Coal Operators Association.
Combs portrays both Thomas Ratliff and Robert Holcomb as influential coal operators who sought to preserve “their” society, including participating in the arrest of Joe Mulloy, Carl and Anne Braden, and Alan and Margaret McSurley for sedition in 1967. Combs describes attacking the constitutionality of the Kentucky sedition law and claiming that the actual arrests were illegal, in his defense of Mulloy. Combs believes that the arrests and the KUAC hearing were used as weapons to manipulate public opinion against the AVs. Moreover, he claims that the Independent Coal Operators Association (IOCA) used the local media and their influence with the state and federal government to further the campaign against the AVs. Nevertheless, Combs concludes that the sedition arrests and the KUAC hearings damaged the Appalachian Volunteers and contributed to their downfall.
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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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Combs, Dan Jack Interview by Thomas J. Kiffmeyer. 17 Sep. 1993. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Combs, D.J. (1993, September 17). Interview by T. J. Kiffmeyer. Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Combs, Dan Jack, interview by Thomas J. Kiffmeyer. September 17, 1993, Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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