WV Mine Wars Museum invites all to plan 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain

Gilbert Middle School students visit the museum (image via Facebook)

BY KENZIE NEW, DIRECTOR, WV MINE WARS MUSEUM

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is spearheading a campaign to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, a project funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities. The Battle of Blair Mountain 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.

Set for Labor Day Weekend in 2021, a core planning committee has already begun planning for the Centennial Commemoration and is enlisting volunteers and organizations to host events in their own communities.

The museum conducted their first wave of organizing for the event series in September 2018, where they held a Blair Kick-Off Meeting for the Centennial Commemoration in Historic Matewan. Dozens of organizations across the state and region answered the call to contribute ideas and participate in the Centennial.

The next inspiring chapter in Blair Mountain’s 2021 Centennial will take place on May 4th at 1:00pm at the Historic Oak Hill High School in Oak Hill, West Virginia. A collaborative session led by the Mine Wars Museum staff and core planning committee will set the stage for partners to share concepts, resources, and launch their own creative vision for sharing this crucial period of American history.

Teachers, community leaders, historians, museum staff, and other members of the public are invited to participate in the planning process. Please RSVP by contacting Museum Director Kenzie New at 304-923-4027, visiting wvminewars.com, or by emailing wvminewarsmuseum@gmail.com.

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is located in historic downtown Matewan. The West Virginia Mine Wars was a twenty-year period of labor violence in southern West Virginia, in which coal miners fought company forces for their constitutional rights and the right to form a union.  

Like the courageous miners of West Virginia’s not-so-distant past, a new generation of rednecks is rising to meet a challenge: this time, to ensure that this American struggle for dignity and basic human rights takes its rightful place in the nation’s memory. March with us on May 4th!

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