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A Miner's Life

Coal is a non-renewable resource. And like coal, some mining towns in southern Illinois are finding that they too may soon be depleted.

Since 1811, when the first Illinois coal mine opened in Jackson County, the fortune of coal has determined the fate of many southern Illinois communities. It was the story of one such community that drove filmmaker Greg Boozell to visit Marissa, IL at the turn of the millennium and chronicle the closing of the Peabody Coal Company mine.

In his documentary, Invisible Hand: The Deindustrialization of Southern Illinois, Boozell looks at how this small coal town has fared since the mine's 1999 closing. It's a portrait both unique and universal, reflecting the frustrations of miners as good-paying jobs disappear and bewildered workers scramble to find a place in the oftentimes low-wage service economy.

Related Links

Learn more about award-winning Illinois poet David Bond, whose stark work chronicles the struggles of blue-collar workers.

Get your own copy of Boozell's documentary, " Invisible Hand: the deindustrialization of Southern Illinois."

Visit PBS's "Independent Lens" for a look at how coal mining has literally changed the landscape of West Virginia.

Read more at PBS's news program "NOW" about the everyday impact of coal on our country and the future of this vital energy source.

Greg Boozell is technology director at Chicago's public access station, CAN TV. Drop by and see what's hitting the airwaves.

Learn about Boozell's recent project, "No Backward Step" a radio documentary about the Illinois Mine War of the 1930's.

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Watch as filmmaker Greg Boozell discusses traveling from Chicago to downstate Illinois to make his gripping film about the closing of the Marissa, IL mine.


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Filmmaker, Greg Boozell.

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Digging machines sit idle outside the Marissa coal mine. From Invisible Hand, directed by Greg Boozell, images courtesy of the director.

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A tractor waits by the site of the Marissa coal mine.


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