April 28th marks Canada's annual Day of Mourning. Of course, industrial accidents are not the only risk workers face; occupational diseases, brought on by hazardous workplace conditions, have also claimed a terrible toll. One of the worst has been silicosis, a coating of the lungs by deadly silica dust inhaled by generations of hard-rock miners. To mark this month's Day of Mourning, we bring you the story of Bea Zucco: a third generation pioneer from Grand Forks, BC and a miner's wife. Ordinary in so many ways, and yet absolutely extraordinary in her determination to see justice prevail and secure a WCB pension for her silicosis-stricken husband. This is her story.
Learn more: labourheritagecentre.ca/zucco
Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond.
"Silicosis is Killin' Me" - First recorded by Pinewood Tom, a pseudonym for Joshua White, February 26, 1936, on Conqueror #8673.
"Cold, Cold Heart" - Written and performed by Hank Williams.
Clips of Bea Zucco are from a recording conducted by Les Johnson on behalf of the Boundary Historical Society. It was one of a series of "Living Books" events that took place early in 2013, hosted by gallery 2, the art gallery in Grand Forks BC.
"1950's Bea" - Lucie MacNeil
"WCB/journalist" - John Mabbott
Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr and Rod Mickleburgh.