Mary Jane Appel & Douglas Brinkley at the National Archives

William G. McGowan Theater 701 Constitution Ave. NW Washington, DC 20002

American Coal + Power & Light Launch Event

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Authors Mary Jane Appel and Douglas Brinkley will discuss how in 1946 the Truman administration made a promise to striking coal miners: as part of a deal to resume work, the government would sponsor a nationwide survey of health and labor conditions in mining camps. One instrumental member of the survey team was photographer Russell Lee. Lee had made his name during the Depression, when, alongside Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, he used his camera to document agrarian life for the Farm Security Administration. Now he trained his lens on miners and their families to show their difficult circumstances despite their essential contributions to the nation’s first wave of postwar growth. American Coal draws from the thousands of photographs that Lee made for the survey. A book signing will follow the program.

Power & Light: Russell Lee’s Coal Survey and programs presented in conjunction with the exhibit are made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of The Mars Family & Mars, Incorporated and Anonymous.