New Clear Vision

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United, Not Divided

June 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, James Russell, Politics

Marchers Take on History, Confront Mountaintop Removal

by James Russell

Deep in coal country, a revolution is brewing. In rural West Virginia, nearly 500 people have been marching since Monday, June 6, to fight against mountaintop removal, for a new clean economy and to remember the battle at Blair Mountain, the largest armed labor battle in United States history that was fought at its base more than 90 years ago.

Dubbed “Appalachia Rising: The March on Blair Mountain,” the marchers are retracing the steps of the original march that preceded the 1921 battle that pitted union organizers against mercenaries hired by coal companies to fight unionization in southern West Virginia counties. Setting the stage for the American labor movement, the battle left what one expert estimates to be hundreds dead from nearly one millions rounds of ammunition. But now, the unprotected battle site is under threat by coal companies using the dangerous excavation tactic known as mountaintop removal. (more…)