Hundreds of activists from around the country joined local unionized coal miners in standing up to the coal industry last week, marching for five days and 50 miles through West Virginia. Their protest culminated on Saturday at Blair Mountain, the site of a violent clash in 1921 between 15,000 striking coal miners and a hired army paid by Big Coal bosses. That battle was a major milestone in the fight for the right to unionize.
Blair Mountain was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, but then removed in 2010; activists blame the reversal on pressure from the coal industry. Now Big Coal wants to literally erase history by blowing Blair Mountain up, making it just one more casualty of mountaintop-removal mining. Protesters say no way.
In this video, photographer Jay Mallin captures the march and explains the history:
Also check out:
- Tim DeChristopher: “Blair Mountain: A new milestone in the climate justice movement?“
- Matt Wasson: “Labor and enviros join up in W.Va. to fight mountaintop coal mining“