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Through the Lens: 'Harlan County, USA'


In 1973, a group of Kentucky coal miners went on strike. Filmmaker Barbara Kopple witnessed their struggle, producing the landmark documentary “Harlan County, USA.”

Kopple built an unusual level of rapport with the miners and their families. She and her crew joined the strikers — literally joining them on the picket lines — to film as events unfolded. The team captured strikers’ conflicts with police, scabs and bosses while also documenting private moments in the miners’ lives. The result is a masterpiece that changed the course of American documentary filmmaking.

We’re talking about “Harlan County, USA” this Friday at noon. Join us for a screening of the film on Thursday, August 4. Here are the details.


  • Anne Lewis, documentary filmmaker and Professor of Practice, UT-Austin.
  • E. Ann Kaplan, Distinguished Professor Emerita of English and Cultural Analysis and Theory, Stony Brook University

Airdate: Friday, July 29, 2022 at 12 p.m. and Sat, July 30, 2022 at 11 a.m.

The week our episode aired, Eastern Kentucky was hit by numerous, deadly flash floods. Appalshop is a film, radio and cultural organization whose building (including their archive) was flooded. Visit their website to learn more about them and about their flood recovery efforts. In addition to posting their own story, they share verified lists of donation funds and resource information.

Additional resources for flood victims: