American Redneck Origin
Another possible contributing source of the term redneck comes from The West Virginia Coal Miners March or the Battle of Blair Mountain when coal miners wore red bandanas around their necks to identify themselves as seeking the opportunity to unionize.
Another contributing theory derives the term from such individuals having a red neck caused by working outdoors in the sunlight over the course of their lifetime. The effect of decades of direct sunlight on the exposed skin of the back of the neck not only reddens fair skin, but renders it leathery and tough, and typically very wrinkled and spotted by late middle age. Similarly, some historians claim that the term redneck originated in 17th century Virginia, because fair-skinned unfree labourers were sunburnt while tending plantation crops.
Another popular etymology is that the term was originally used by African Americans as a pejorative for white people in general, in the same manner that peckerwood and ofay were coined by blacks.
It is clear that by the post-Reconstruction era (after the departure of Federal troops from the American South in 1874-1878), the term had worked its way into popular usage. Several blackface minstrel shows used the word in a derogatory manner, comparing slave life over that of the poor rural whites. This may have much to do with the social, political and economic struggle between Populists, the Redeemers and Republican Carpetbaggers of the post-Civil War South and Appalachia, where the new middle class of the South (professionals, bankers, industrialists) displaced the pre-war planter class as the leaders of the Southern states. The Populist movement, with its message of economic equality, represented a threat to the status quo. The use of a derogative term, such as redneck to belittle the working class, would have assisted in the gradual disenfranchisement of most of the Southern lower class, both black and white, which occurred by 1910.