FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2022– “The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum Invites the Public to Celebrate the Dedications of Public Monuments this Labor Day Weekend.”
Earlier this year, the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum launched Courage in the Hollers: Mapping the Miners’ Struggle for a Union, a new public history and monument project in the southern West Virginia coalfields, funded by Monument Lab, the West Virginia Humanities Council, and Museum members.
The project’s first phase takes place in Marmet (Kanawha County) and Clothier (Logan County). A series of public meetings were held to elicit community feedback on the monument’s design and intent. After nearly one year in the making, the Museum and its local community partners are excited to unveil and dedicate the monument's designs and associated programming this Labor Day Weekend.
Despite the unprecedented success of Blair 100, little existed in the landscape of West Virginia to commemorate this American history beyond a small marker at the foot of Blair Mountain and the Mine Wars Museum in Matewan. The footprints of the Miners’ 50-Mile March, its stories, and its contribution to American history are virtually invisible today.
Courage in the Hollers is reversing this intended erasure.
“We’re developing a series of community-created public monuments within the rural Appalachian landscape that memorialize a history that was explicitly removed from educational curricula and that rarely appeared in history books. Why was this dramatic story suppressed? Because it was a critical lived example of the power of cross-racial, multi-ethnic solidarity,” says Shaun Slifer, Lead Designer and Creative Director of the Museum.
The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum intends to continue the community-driven development of historic sites along the entire Miners’ March, and eventually, Blair Mountain itself, much of which is still company land.
Monuments and historic markers will memorialize the Battle of Blair Mountain and celebrate the collective efforts of the multiethnic, multiracial working-class army that stood up against oppression, leaving an indelible mark on American history.
We invite the public to join us in this mission, and celebrate this Labor Day Weekend with public dedication events in the communities of Marmet and Clothier: