|SAVING BLAIR MOUNTAIN - WVs Famous Historical Site
Tomorrow there will be a rally to save and preserve Blair Mountain, one of the state's most historical sites, more often than not ignored.|
The rally will commence at 11 a.m. at the Logan
County Culture and History Museum, Chief Logan State
The Battle of Blair Mountain took place in 1921 after thousands of well armed miners marched to Logan County to unionize the southern West Virginia coalfields. Their union men and sympathizers fought a battle with sheriff's deputies, armed guards and state officials.
The battle ended with the arrival of the 10th U.S. Infantry from Fort Thomas, Ky., and a squadron of bombers prepared to drop bombs of the miners from Langley Field, Va. On Sept. 4.
Federal troops marched
up Hewitt Creek in Logan County, and the defeat ended the United Mine Workers efforts to unionize.
Tomorrow, former Congressman
publisher of When Miners March,
former Sierra Club Board President Robbie
Mari-Lynn Evans, executive producer of The Appalachians documentary
and community residents will gather to call for Blair Mountain's addition to
the National Register of Historic Places.
They will urge the State Historic
Preservation Office to honor our communities and our heritage by
recommending the site for listing at their May 6 meeting.
The Battle of Blair Mountain continues today on a different front. Coal companies are planning to decimate this
historic landmark using mountaintop removal methods.
historians, the Sierra Club, and the Friends of the Mountains Coalition
believe that Blair Mountain is an integral a part of West Virginia history, much too important
to be destroyed.
Ironically, mining corporations have turned many coal miners against efforts to preserve the history that eventually let to better working conditions, wages, benefits and safety rules for miners.
In July 1921, Matewan Police Chief Sid Hatfield was murdered on
the steps of the McDowell County Courthouse by hired guns. Hatfield was a
fervent supporter of coal miners and their efforts to unionize. His murder
galvanized miners' simmering frustration into an armed protest to unionize
West Virginia's coal mines.
Today, despite widespread
efforts to preserve this valuable place as a historic site, the mountain is
under seige by coal companies with mountaintop removal mining.
Mountaintop removal blasts the earth and rock of mountaintops apart and
pushes the debris into valleys.
Many communities in Appalachia have
completely disappeared due to blasting, flooding and decreasing property
values caused by this devastating mining method.
For more information on conservation in Appalachia and The Appalachians,
please visit http://www.sierraclub.org/appalachia/