INTERRACIAL UNIONISM confronted new challenges during the last decade of the century. The crash of 1893 and the four long years of depression that followed sapped the collective power of the Alabama miners. State government proved less friendly than ever, not only continuing to lease convicts to the mines but dispatching troops to quell the largest strike the coal fields had yet seen. The operators, for their part, adopted bold new strategies to divide the miners along racial lines. Such developments severely tested prospects for a labor movement of any sort, not to mention one that encompassed both black and white miners.
The miners' impulse to unionize nonetheless persisted, even as their power waxed and waned over the decade. Al-