West Virginia labor history to be to commemorated
Release from the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum
WELCH, W.Va. — The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum and a variety of local, state, regional, and national partners are spearheading a campaign to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Battle of Blair Mountain in September 1921 was a five-day battle and the culmination of two decades of conflict and violent unrest for labor and civil rights in the coalfields of southern West Virginia.
The next wave of organizing for the Centennial Project will take place in McDowell County, within sight of the courthouse steps where Chief of Police Sid Hatfield and his companion Ed Chambers were gunned down by operatives of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency–an event that further stirred outrage among miners whose fundamental and civil rights were being suppressed.
On November 2, 2019, the Mine Wars Museum and partners will host a collaborative session to discuss events, create a shared vision, and solidify plans for the Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial set for Labor Day Weekend, 2021. This meeting is part of a bold effort to coordinate West Virginia southern coalfield counties to organize their collective work into one weekend of interpretive and educational activities.
The Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial is as grassroots as the labor history it aims to commemorate. Teachers, community leaders, historians, museum staff, and other members of the public are invited to make their mark on the planning process. Only by banding together as courageous coal miners did in 1921 can we hope to make an impact worthy of this unique American legacy.
Previous planning sessions have already generated ideas and momentum for Centennial events, from informative game nights to digital walking tours through Clio. Attendees are encouraged to bring Centennial ideas to add to our growing timeline of 2021 Labor Day Weekend events, to be released at the end of this year.
Those interested are encouraged to RSVP by contacting the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum Director Kenzie New at 304-923-4027, visiting www.blair100.com, or by emailing [email protected]. Light refreshments and drinks will be provided.
The November 2 gathering will be the final meeting of 2019 for the Centennial Project. 2020 meeting dates have not been released.
When: November 2, 1:00-5:00pm
Where: Jack Caffrey Cultural and Arts Center, 143 Wyoming Street, Welch, WV 24801
What: Planning Meeting for Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial Who: West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, National Coal Heritage Authority, The Battle of Homestead Foundation, United Mine Workers of America, Clio, will host the event. All members of the public are invited to attend.