Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives

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July 28, 1932


Throughout the summer of 1932 the United Mine Workers of America and the rival Progressive Miners of America were hotly competing for union representation in the state's beleaguered soft coal industry. The exception was in Moweaqua in Shelby County where local miners had joined together to take over the operations of an otherwise defunct coal mine.

The Moweaqua Coal Corporation had been chartered by the state on September 2, 1931 "to carry on the business of coal mining, to sell coal at retail and wholesale." Some thirty-four subscribers had invested $1,562.50 in the company's capital stock. The location and general description of the company's property was listed as "nil." The company failed to pay its franchise tax in 1934 and its charter was dissolved on July 18, 1935.

In response to this communication Governor Emmerson suggested that the matter be taken up directly with the U.S. Reconstruction Finance Corporation. If the company did qualify for federal aid, the governor would be pleased to offer assistance in the application process.

Points to Consider

Which two things was J. F. Hickman asking Governor Emmerson to do?

What had the coal miners of Moweaqua done in 1931?

Locate Moweaqua on a map.

What is socialism? How do the circumstances described in this document resemble that system?

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