90 years ago this week, an estimated 15,000 coal miners in Logan County, W.Va., formed an armed militia to fight back against an army of police and strikebreakers backed by abusive coal operators. They wore red bandanas around their necks to identify themselves -- thus the term "redneck."
Probably not the real origin of the word but it is true according to wikipedia that The United Mine Workers of America (UMW) and rival miners' unions appropriated both the term redneck and its literal manifestation, the red bandana, in order to build multiracial unions of white, black, and immigrant miners in the strike-ridden coalfields of northern and central Appalachia between 1912 and 1936.
One theory of the origin of the word goes back to Scottish roots. The origins of this term Redneck are Scottish and refer to supporters of the National Covenant and The Solemn League and Covenant, or "Covenanters". Many Covenanters signed in their own blood and wore red pieces of cloth around their necks as distinctive insignia; hence the term "Red neck", (rednecks) which became slang for a Scottish dissenter. Since many Ulster-Scottish settlers in America (especially the South) were Presbyterian, the term was applied to them.
Another Ulster-Scot term, a "cracker", was a person who talked and boasted, and "craic" (Crack) is a term still used mostly in Ireland to describe "talking", chat or conversation in a social sense. The term, first used to describe a southerner of Ulster-Scottish background, later became a nickname for any white southerner, especially those who were uneducated.