In 1921, more than 10,000 West Virginia coal miners marched over Blair Mountain, in Logan County, WV, protesting unsafe working conditions in the mines, and with the intention of rescuing illegally imprisoned mine workers in Mingo County, on the Kentucky border. The marchers were met on the mountain by heavily armed anti-union coal-company thugs, and the result was the bloodiest battle on US soil since the Civil War.
This past weekend, in a march truly designed to bring together both sides of the green equations — people and the planet — nearly 800 pro-union and pro-clean-energy advocates recreated the march to Blair Mountain, in support of good clean-energy jobs for West Virginia, and in opposition to mountaintop removal mining.
In 2009, the National Park Service had listed Blair Mountain in the National Register because of the battle that happened there. But after lobbying from coal companies, the listing was removed, and now Blair Mountain faces destruction from mountaintop removal coal mining. Meanwhile, local residents suffer from polluted air and water, and ruined land covered over with “fill” — the tops of the mountains dumped down into the valleys after they’ve been blown to bits for the coal.
Green America marched in solidarity with local residents, workers’ rights advocates, and clean energy advocates, for a brighter Appalachian future.