Photos, Prints, Drawings The commemorative march on Blair Mountain on the anniversary of the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain

Format Photos, Prints, Drawings
Contributors Hufford, Mary
Dates 1999
Location Blair
Logan County
West Virginia
Language English
Subjects August
Blair Mountain (W. Va.)
Blair Mountain Historical Organization
Coal River Mountain Watch
Community Events
Community Space
March On
Mountaintop Removal
Protest Performances
The commemorative march on Blair Mountain on the anniversary of the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain
Contributor Names
Hufford, Mary, 1952- (Photographer)
Created / Published
August 26, 1999
Subject Headings
-  Mining
-  Community events
-  Mountaintop removal
-  Community space
-  August
-  Summer
-  Protest performances
-  Coal River Mountain Watch
-  Blair Mountain Historical Organization
-  Blair Mountain (W. Va.)--March on
-  Ethnography
-  Photographs
-  West Virginia -- Logan County -- Blair
-  Event: Commemorative March on Blair Mountain.
-  "In late August of 1999 the Blair Mountain Historical Organization and the Coal River Mountain Watch sponsored a commemorative march on Blair Mountain. The march, which took several days to complete, retraced the steps of ten thousand armed miners who marched to Blair Mountain in 1921 in order to force coal operators in Logan County to recognize the union. At that time, Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin was keeping the union out of his county with the help of "thugs" -- Pinkerton detectives paid for by the coal companies. In the largest domestic military confrontation since the Civil War, the uprising was quelled with federal troops and bombers, and the union never did gain a foothold there until Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act into law more than a decade later.
-  In the wake of these events, Blair Mountain has come to represent a powerful moment in the struggle for workers' rights. In the 1980s, the United Mineworkers Journal dubbed a UMW protest over plans to strip Blair Mountain the "Second Battle of Blair Mountain." ("The Second Battle of Blair Mountain," 1991) A UMWA effort to nominate Blair Mountain to the National Register of Historic Places resulted in a compromise between the Daltex and Sharples coal corporations and the UMWA. This compromise would allow Daltex and Sharples to stripmine the coal from Blair Mountain, in exchange for an eight-acre park and the creation of several historic sites. (Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology, 1991). However, a plan to extract the remaining coal from Blair Mountain with union labor has been halted, pending the outcome of an appeal of a court case in which federal judge Charles Haden ruled that filling in perennial streams with mine waste violates the 100 foot stream buffer zone mandated by the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act.
-  To invoke the principles of democracy that informed the original march on Blair Mountain, and to call attention to the historic value of this contested site, the BMHO and CRMW, with support from other citizen groups, including the Ohio Valley Environmental Council and Appalachian Voices, staged another march. This march erupted into an unplanned dramatization of the historical conflict when the marchers were assaulted, kicked, and pelted en route by spectators who believed the march to be nothing more than a protest against mountaintop removal.
-  This picture was taken by Laura Forman of the Ohio Valley Environmental Council, who participated in the march."
35 mm Color Slide
Call Number
AFC 1999/008: CRF-MH-C099-16
Source Collection
Coal River Folklife Collection (AFC 1999/008)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id

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