Night School: West Virginia Mine Wars

Sunday April 28
$3-5 suggested donation
[no one turned away for lack of funds]

Blair Pathways is a multi-media project which uses music and narrative to tell the story of the West Virginia Mine Wars (1900-1921). The story is told through a series of historic music pieces, covered by contemporary musicians, which take the listener step-by-step through the main events and themes of these wars. The CD features 20 tracks along with a fold-out map, which coordinates track numbers to the geographic sites of each historic moment. On our website, this same map links to short essays which detail each historic moment, and explain the thematic connection to the musical piece.

The West Virginia Mine Wars were, undoubtedly, some of the largest and longest-lasting labor battles in the history of the United States. Between 1900 and 1921, three major periods of conflict arose: the Fayette/Kanawha strikes of 1902, the Paint Creek/Cabin Creek Strikes of 1912-1913 and the Mingo-Logan Wars of 1919-1921. These conflicts were spread across southern West Virginia, which was the nation’s preeminent producer of bituminous coal in the early 20th century. These conflicts culminated with a week-long militant uprising in August of 1921, involving over 10,000 men and women. Much of the fighting was focused at Blair Mountain in Logan County. Blair Mountain currently meets standards to qualify as a national historic battle site, but sadly faces threats from mountain-top removal mining. Money from sales of the CD will go to benefit Friends of Blair Mountain (FOBM), a non-profit working to save the Blair Mountain battlefield site.