The Miners and Political Protest
In 1892 the monolithic structure of Alabama's Democratic Party had been shattered. Reuben F. Kolb's agrarian followers, finding it impossible to capture control of the Democratic Party from its Bourbon leaders, had organized as a separate party, and Kolb and Jones had battled for the governorship in a vigorous and vituperative campaign. Jones's opponents claimed that he was re-elected because his followers resorted to fraud and chicanery in a manipulation of the Black Belt vote.1 Despite a background of labor political agitation, the coal miners did not play an organized role in the campaign of 1892. They were attracted by the Jeffersonian promise to remove the convicts from the mines, but the subtle interplay of economics and politics had not yet created a cohesive miner political orientation.
But by 1893 the ferment of political revolt had strongly affected the coal miners. In belligerent fashion they raised the