BY CATHERINE MOORE, SECRETARY, WV MINE WARS MUSEUM; WRITER/RADIO PRODUCER
At the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, we meet people all the time who have some kind of deep connection to the history of labor organizing in this state—whether their grandfather fought at Blair Mountain or their grandmother lived in a tent camp at Paint Creek. But we find that one of the most common connections that people have to this history is their involvement in the making of the acclaimed film Matewan.
Shot in the New River Gorge town of Thurmond, West Virginia, and featuring local residents as extras, Matewan captures a critical moment in labor history when miners across the Southern Coalfields led a rank and file organizing drive that would change the course of labor relations in our nation for decades to come.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the film. Our museum wanted to honor its makers, director John Sayles and producer Maggie Renzi, with a special event where people can get together and relive their memories, engage with the filmmakers, and watch this beautiful film for the first, tenth…or hundredth time!
Our museum is already gearing up for a big Centennial Celebration of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 2021, when we plan to organize fun history events across several counties in southern West Virginia. All proceeds from this film screening will help us make that happen.
So please, join us on October 7th to catch one of two screenings at The Labelle Theatre (3pm and 7pm) in South Charleston, along with a raffle, live music, refreshments, Mine Wars Museum merchandise and a Q&A with the film’s creators. There will also be some surprise special guests in the audience! Tickets are available for $10 at wvminewars.com, or at the door.
- Event: WV Mine Wars Museum screens Matewan
- Location: The LaBelle Theatre (313 D St, South Charleston, WV 25303)
- Date: October 7, 3pm and 7pm (two screenings)
- Tickets: $10, pay at the door and wvminewars.com
Members of the WV Mine Wars Museum are also invited to a bonus event: a Members Mingle with John Sayles and Maggie Renzi at Noon at the Unitarian Universalist Chuch in Charleston (520 Kanawha Blvd., W). Non-members may sign up for membership at http://www.wvminewars.com/member or pay $20 at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
Many thanks to the West Virginia Humanities Council for their co-sponsorship of this event, and to the National Endowment for the Humanities for their support of the Blair Centennial Celebration.