Since 1941 the Old King Coal Festival has been held every year the second week of May in West Frankfort to celebrate the coal mining industry that has been an integral part of the economy for Southern Illinois over the years. Many still work for their livelihood in coal mines today. According to Phillip M. Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association, there are currently 17 active mines in Illinois with 3,212 workers as of March 31, 2017.  Fourteen of those mines are south of I-64 and have 2,750 workers. These photos are representative of those workers. The photos are of miners from one shift at the Knighthawk Prairie Eagle Mine near Percy. Not only do they represent current miners, they also represent miners who came before them, for many of these miners are second, third and even fourth generation miners. 

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