Eula Hall, One-Woman Relief Agency in Appalachia, Dies at 93

She ended up working in a canning and ammunition factory outside of Rochester, NY. But she found the conditions unsafe and unfair, and organized some of the workers on strike without realizing the pointlessness of making demands of the federal government in wartime.

She was arrested and charged with instigating a riot. But the booking agent realized she was younger than claimed and sent her back to Kentucky instead of locking her up. It was a test run to tell the truth to the Force, which it would do all of its life.

At home she found work as a domestic servant, cooked, cleaned and looked after children, all without electricity, water or cooling.

“Eula found consolation in helping neighbors in difficult times,” wrote Bhatraju.

She married her first husband, McKinley Hall, a miner in 1944. He was a heavy drinker who was more interested in making moonshine than mining coal, and he physically abused her, according to her bio. Her neighbors took care of them and she took care of them. She gradually became the local fixer for people in trouble.

This included that a very pregnant neighbor was taken to several hospitals, which the woman refused because she did not have a family doctor and could not pay. At the last hospital, Mrs. Hall yelled at the admission nurse and threatened to call the local newspaper if the staff didn’t help. They did, the birth went well, and Mrs. Hall took the woman’s plight to a meeting of hospital officials where it caused a shame on her for making people suffer.

She read two influential books that enhanced her courage to speak: “Night Comes in the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Territory” (1963) by Harry Caudill and “The Other America” ​​(1962) by Michael Harrington. Both books inspired President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty – and Mrs. Hall.

She took part in miners’ strikes across the region. She was elected president of the Kentucky Black Lung Association and organized frequent bus trips to Washington, where she campaigned for better miners and widow benefits. She was often the only woman at the table.

Comments are closed.