America's Most Endangered Mountains - Blair Mountain, WV| 4mins
Director: Appalachian Voices | Producer: Appalachian Voices
Focus Years: 2009 | Country: United States
"[Mountaintop removal coal mining would] wipe out a large part of the southern end of the battlefield that was occupied by the union miners." Blair Mountain, West Virginia is the site of a 1921 battle in the West Virginia Mine Wars, the historic push of unionized coal miners from the north to organize the workers of the southern coalfields. Involving 13,000 union miners and 2,000 anti-union defenders, the battle was the largest armed conflict in America since the Civil War! It remains literally a battleground: a prime location for finding historic artifacts left from both sides of the conflict. It's also, however, a battleground between opponents of mountaintop removal coal mining and the coal companies themselves. Kenny King, a resident of Blair Mountain since 1962, explains how this historical site, which he has been working to preserve for 17 years, is threatened by a 333-acre mining permit. "[Mountaintop removal coal mining would] wipe out a large part of the southern end of the battlefield that was occupied by the union miners." A valuable piece of labor organizing history is not the only thing that would be destroyed by mining Blair Mountain. According to King, if they strip Blair Mountain, they'll lose innumerable natural resources: "Valuable hardwood forest, herbs like the ginseng, yellowroot, cohosh, and blood root ... you'll never see it again. All will be lost; it'll just cease to exist. It will be erased off the face of the earth." If you would like to help protect Blair Mountain's many valuable assets, please take King's advice: "Let [your representatives] know that there has to be a better way than sacrificing all the mountains and forest land and historical sites just for a convenient way of producing energy." To support Kenny and his community, contact: Kenny King at (304) 752-2260 or email@example.com or www.FriendsofBlairMountain.org. The Friends of Blair Mountain is a group of historians, archeologists and others dedicated to preserving the cultural and historical resources of the site of the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain in southern West Virginia.