The March on Blair Mountain Begins
Amidst threats and intimidation by King Coal's supporters, 600 courageous marchers kicked off a five day march from Marmet, WV to Blair Mountain.
Blair Mountain was the site of the second largest armed insurrection (after the Civil War) in U.S. history. 8000-10000 miners fighting for union rights took up arms against hired coal thugs. Blair Mountain has been an iconic symbol for both the U.S. labor movement and West Virginia itself. And now coal companies want to strip mine Blair Mountain. They’ve already stripped it of its historical preservation status and are now seeking permitting to strip mine it.
In fact, they’ve already begun strip mining on parts of it or so I hear.
You can tell the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection – “Don't let big coal destroy our history”, by sending a comment to tell them to protect Blair Mountain
While the 1921 marchers faced hardship and armed opposition (armed private security, bombs from planes, federal troops), the 2011 marchers are facing harassment by pro-coal supporters along the way. A tweet this morning from @marchonblairmt reported "Road has scattered clusters of opposition as honking coal trucks hug the the shoulder - marchers squeeze to fit on."
But this march is also seeing new alliances between United Mine Workers locals and environmentalists. Blair Mountain organizer and archaeologist Brandon Nida said at this morning’s press conference as the march kicked off, "The unions protect [workers] in the workplace and environmentalist protect them at home. They're the same"