Monday, August 3, 2015

Coal Mining Folk History

Preserving Blair Mountain Battlefield

Some events are etched in history forever and some of those events form the basis of folk legends about epic events. One such event was the Battle at Blair Mountain . It is considered by many to be  one of the most pivotal civil uprisings that has taken place in America since The Civil War. The conflict was between between union coal miners and law enforcement officials in August, 1921. 

  What Was the Battle of Blair Mountain?
This battle was waged by 10,000 union coal miners disgruntled with labor laws. According to media reports at the time, the struggle was the result of economic exploitation of workers during a period of social transformation in the southern West Virginia coalfields. Mine owners hired legal assistance and more to keep union workers out of the area and in the early part of the 20th century, coal miners attempted numerous strikes against that system. 

At Blair Mountain union coal miners fought against 3,000 coal company guards and other law enforcement officials.  This battle is believed to have been the deciding factor in the passage of the National Labor Relations Act. 

For coal miners as well as union members across the country this was a significant accomplishment.

Two Mining Companies Vie For Use of Site Today
There are now two mining companies interested in strip-mining coal from the site of the Battle of Blair Mountain. However, because the site of this battle has been listed in the National Register of Historical places since 2008, researchers, environmentalists and preservationists, and the United Mine Workers are fighting to preserve this historical site.

Why Preserve This Landmark?
Many artifacts, buried weapons and shell casings from the battle are believed to be  Since this battle is such a profound part of history that affected National Labor Laws many feel that it deserves to be protected against anything that would remove traces of history from this landmark. 
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