MATEWAN — The Blair Centennial team recently released a lineup of events to take place in lead up and during Labor Day Weekend, all of which are dedicated to commemorating the centennial of the Battle of Blair Mountain.
The Battle of Blair Mountain was a landmark event in United States history when coal mining families in southern West Virginia joined the United Mine Workers of America and rose up against a cruel system created and controlled by the mine owners. This system denied them civil rights enjoyed by citizens elsewhere in the country. It was a five-day battle that took place in late August 1921.
Representatives from the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum in Matewan and community organizations across West Virginia and Appalachia, along with committed individual volunteers, are developing a series of interactive and interpretive activities to be held throughout 2021 in counties across West Virginia, culminating in a main event over Labor Day Weekend.
The Blair 100 team released the full schedule of events this past week:
- Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial Kick-Off Event, Friday, Sept. 3, in Charleston, hosted by the Core Team.
- United Mine Workers of America Labor Day Rally and Finale Event, Monday, Sept. 6, in Blair.
- United Mine Workers of America to retrace the 50-mile Miners March to Blair Mountain from Marmet to Blair.
Archives and History
- Museums, Labor and Social Activism: A symposium presented by the West Virginia Association of Museums, Saturday, Sept. 4, at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston.
- A Guided Walking Tour of Historic Matewan, Sunday, Sept. 5, in Matewan, hosted by the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum.
- A Special Lecture Series spotlighting Mine Wars History and Memory, fall, in Wise, Virginia, hosted by UVA Wise College.
- A republication of the 1973 Oral History collection, “On Dark and Bloody Ground: An Oral History of the West Virginia Mine Wars,” by Anne Lawrence, with a foreword by Catherine Moore and an afterword by Cecil E. Roberts, to be published by West Virginia University Press.
Special Exhibits and Displays
- Special annual exhibit themed around the Mine Wars and opening an online collection, June 20, sponsored by WV Regional & History Collection at West Virginia University.
- Labor Cartoons in the Mine Wars Era: Symbols, Messages and Meanings, sponsored by the Watts Museum at West Virginia University.
- Special Exhibition, sponsored by the Monongalia Arts Center, in collaboration with the Artist Collective of WV and Morgantown History Museum.
- I Come Creeping, paintings by Chris DeMaria, hosted by the Solidarity Gallery
- at the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum.
- Blair Footsteps: Pop Up Roadside Exhibit Trail, hosted by Patrich Corcoran, Gibbs Kinderman and Kyle Warmack.
Partner Events and Panels
- Labor Film Screenings, Thursday, Sept. 2, in Huntington, hosted by School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.
- New Books About the Mine Wars: A Reading and Discussion with Authors, Saturday, Sept. 4, in Charleston, at Taylor Books hosted by author Catherine Moore, WVU Press and WVU Hu
- manities Center.
- A special production of Terror of the Tug Drama, Sept. 4 in Welch, at the McArts Amphitheater, hosted by McArts.
- Solidarity Supper and Storytelling, Sunday, Sept. 5, in Kermit, hosted by the Big Laurel Learning Center.
- Modern Day Rednecks: How Rural Organizers are Reclaiming the Symbol of the Red Bandana, Sept. 4, in Charleston, hosted by Southern Crossroads, WV Can’t Wait, WV United Caucus, Steel City John Brown Gun Club and the WV Mine Wars Museum.
- A Dissident Church Service, TBA in Logan County, hosted by Reverend Brad Davis.
- Coalfields Heritage Festival, Sept. 9-12 in Welch, hosted by the Town of Welch.
Additional planning for centennial events are underway, and those interested in participating under the umbrella of the Blair Centennial are invited to reach out to participate.
All events are subject to change pending pandemic protocols and safety. For more updates and news regarding the centennial, visit www.blair100.com.