Collection Number: 05685

Collection Title: J. W. and Kate Bradley Papers, 1973-1978

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


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Size 7.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1000 items)
Abstract Records, correspondence, and printed material related to the involvement of white environmentalist J. W. Bradley with Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), an organization founded to support community issues arising from the increase in strip mining in Eastern Tennessee during the 1970s and 1980s. Materials in the collection include correspondence, legal documents, and printed material related to the issues of strip mining, truck weights, taxes, mining regulation, water pollution, and land equalization. Also included are copies of testimonies given by J. W. Bradley and Neil McBride to congressional committees; SOCM reports; and publications and correspondence from organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Coal Creek Mining Manufacturing Company, and Beech Grove Mining Company.
Creator Bradley, J. W.

Bradley, Kate.
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the J. W. and Kate Bradley Papers #5685, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from J.W. Bradley in April 2016 (Acc. 102564).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

J.W. Bradley and Kate Bradley were both born and raised in Petros, Tennessee, a small Appalachian coalfield community in the Cumberland Mountains. Emma Kate Bradley was born 13 October 1932, the sixth of seven surviving children in her family. Her father was a coalminer. Jacob W. Bradley was born on 29 June 1930. His father was also a coalminer. J.W. and Kate married in 1951.

As an adult, J.W. worked several jobs. At eighteen he got a job working as a coalminer at Rosedale, Tenn. Later J.W. became an electrician at the K-25 nuclear processing plant in nearby Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which provided important direct contact with power industry practices. In the 1970s he became concerned about the practice of layer-loading coal, a method where poor quality coal was covered over by higher quality coal and all sold at the market price of the higher quality coal. Bradley claimed that TVA knowingly purchased layer-loaded coal as a source for local steam power plants (including K-25). In 1975 he traveled to Washington, D.C. to appear before a Senate oversight committee hearing on this issue.

Both wanted to give back to their community, which at the time only had a prison, and not much else. J.W. and Kate co-founded Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) in response to the strip mining that was devastating the area around their home. Around this same time Kate Bradley was working to secure land for a local health clinic.

Kate Bradley’s community organizing activities with SOCM included delivering speeches, meeting with politicians and business owners, running bake and rummage sales, quilt raffles, and leading committees.

J.W. and Kate received encouragement and support from the Student Health Coalition, a student-led organization developed at Vanderbilt University in 1969 with the goal of building primary care clinics and bringing health services to Appalachian regions lacking reliable access to care.

The health clinic Kate helped open remained in Petros for many years. SOCM remains in effect, renamed Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Includes correspondence, legal documents, and printed material related to the issues of strip mining, truck weights, taxes, mining regulation, water pollution, and land equalization. Also included are copies of testimonies given by J. W. Bradley and Neil McBride to congressional committees; SOCM reports; and publications and correspondence from organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Coal Creek Mining Manufacturing Company, and Beech Grove Mining Company.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Encoded by: Laura Smith, August 2017

Processed by Nicole Cvjetnicanina and Rebecca Stubbs, May 2019

Since August 2017, we have added ethnic identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine ethnic identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual’s preference for ethnicity to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at wilsonlibrary@email.unc.edu.

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