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Schedule of Events for the Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial 1921-2021




The faces of Blair Mountain - A free photo exhibit

Through Saturday, Sept. 11 

Chief Logan Lodge and Conference Center  

Reflect on the human aspect of this epic conflict by looking into the faces of the people involved in the Battle of Blair Mountain. This exhibit is part of Appalachian Heritage Days. Photographers share their vision of a time and series of events that have relevance for today.

Beginning on August 30 at the Chief Logan Lodge and Conference Center, reflect on the human aspect of his epic conflict by looking into the faces of the people involved in the Battle of Blair Mountain.

Submitted photo

Drawing the Battle Lines: Editorial cartoons from the West Virginia Mine Wars

Wed, Sept. 1 from 1 p.m. to Fri, Jul 1, 2022 at 4 p.m.

Mineral Resources Building, WVU's Evansdale Campus, Morgantown (map)

This exhibit at West Virginia University’s Watts Museum features editorial cartoons depicting the divisive issues that triggered the West Virginia Mine Wars. Using sources that range from the mainstream to the radical, Drawing the Battle Lines explores the role of print media in the struggle for labor rights. As miners, politicians, citizens, and soldiers took sides in this decades-long fight, these illustrations reveal how cartoonists expressed their own views on clashes in the coalfields, while also shaping public perception of the events.

Labor Film Festival

Thursday, September 2, 2021

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center 

This one-day film festival will be held at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. Selected films in each category will be screened on September 2nd, 2021. Films will also be screened online for those who cannot be present at the event.

Retracing the miners march to Blair Mountain - Organized by the UMWA

Fri, Sept. 3, 8 a.m. to Sun, Sept. 5, 5 p.m.

Marmet, WV 

Over a three-day period, UMWA members, President Cecil Roberts and interested individuals will re-create the miners march that ended in the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain. One hundred years later, marchers will commemorate this heroic effort starting on Friday, September 3rd in Marmet, walking 15 miles a day, and ending in Sharples, WV on Sunday, September 5th. The listed times are estimated. We’re still working out the details. Please check back periodically.

Blair Day at Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine

Friday Sept. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine 

Beckley announces Blair Day on September 3rd. All the great tours plus added commentary of the significance of the mine wars and the Battle of Blair Mountain. Plus, FREE gift of the Blair Commemorative Journal. This hands-on exhibition and underground coal mining tour offer wonderful opportunities for our visitors to learn, explore, interact and share.

Tours and screenings at the Boone County Coal Heritage Museum and Arts Center

Friday, Sept. 3, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Bituminous Coal Heritage Foundation Museum (map)

Join the Boone County Coal Heritage Museum for a day of tours and rare film screenings in Madison, WV. You can watch for the UMWA reenactment marchers to come through through town! The museum contains memorabilia of the early coal mining days to the present, including a simulated coal mine, company store, miners home, and the Upper Big Branch Disaster. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial kickoff event

Friday, Sept. 3, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center 

Kick off the Centennial weekend with us in Charleston, WV! The Battle of Blair Mountain is a history that can’t just be told, it must also be sung. Music and poetry were more than moral support for striking coal miners; they were a vehicle by which the suppressed history of the Mine Wars and Blair Mountain were passed from one generation to the next. Come learn about some of these proud traditions with us, and kickoff the Centennial weekend with us.

"Pray for the Dead, and fight like hell for the living"

Fri, Sept. 3 at 4 p.m. to Sat, Oct 2 at 10 p.m.

The Monongalia Arts Center 

The Monongalia Arts Center will be hosting a visual arts exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. This exhibit will show the fight for labor rights, the culture unique to West Virginia created by our long history of absentee ownership and its interests in the extraction industry, history and folk culture of the coal miners, and of course the interpretation each individual finds in a work of art regardless of context or intent.

Museums, Labor, and Social Activism: A symposium presented by the West Virginia Association of Museums

Saturday Sept. 4

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church 

Museums and historic sites are active places of discovery and learning, and these sites aren’t just for interpreting the past, but they can also take on an active role in social and political events. Join the West Virginia Association of Museums for a two-session panel on the morning of Saturday, September 4 to learn how events are contextualized and passed down through generations, and what roles a museum should or could take on in modern day.

5th annual Reuther-Pollack Labor History Symposium - Remember Blair Mountain

Saturday, Sept. 4

10 a.m to 3 p.m.

The First State Capitol 

Did you know that the Mine Wars didn’t just occur in southern West Virginia coalfields? There were mine wars in the northern panhandle of West Virginia, too! The 5th Annual Reuther-Pollack Labor History Symposium will be centered on the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, highlighting the stories of regional labor organization, struggles, successes, and failures as well as solidarity with northern West Virginian miners and industrial workers.

Reenactment: Murder of Sid Hatfield & Ed Chambers, McDowell County Courthouse

Saturday, Sept. 4

12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

McDowell County Courthouse 

On Aug. 1, 1921, “Smilin” Sid Hatfield, the Sheriff of Matewan, and Ed Chambers, an organizer with the United Mine Workers of America, were gunned down by Baldwin-Felt Detectives on the steps of the McDowell County Courthouse in Welch, right in front of their wives. Come see this FREE short reenactment and learn how this event helped spark the Battle of Blair Mountain. No tickets necessary. Just arrive at the steps of the Courthouse a few minutes before noon.

Screening of the movie "Matewan" in Welch

Saturday, Sept. 4

1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Pocahontas Theatre 

Matewan is the 1987 film written and directed by John Sayles and starring Chris Cooper (in his film debut), James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Will Oldham and David Strathairn. The film dramatizes the events of the Matewan massacre, and the events that led to the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921.

New books about the Mine Wars: A reading and discussion with authors

Saturday, Sept. 4

2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Taylor Books 

The story of the West Virginia Mine Wars has provided inspiration to artists, writers, and scholars for decades. Their books, films, and visual artworks have fueled the public’s fascination with this little-known episode in our nation’s labor history. Chuck Keeney, Ginny Ayers, and Anne Lawrence—three WVU Press authors—will take part in a panel discussion, with author Catherine Moore as moderator.

Appalachian labor music and history

Saturday, Sept. 4

3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Unitarian Church in Charleston 

On September 4 at 3:45pm, the West Virginia IWW will be playing Appalachian music and discussing West Virginia labor history through song to show the struggle of workers in West Virginia and Appalachia to have a better world. The story of Blair Mountain lives on in the actions and music that led up to the event, as well as proceeded it and they are excited to show the history and relevance of some of their favorite labor songs.

The Legacy of the red bandana

Saturday, Sept. 4

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston, WV 

The red bandana was the key, unifying symbol in the march on Blair Mountain in 1921. But what is the legacy of the iconic image today?

Join modern day historians, community organizers and activists for an interactive conversation about not only the history of the red bandana, but also the ways in which the bandana is being revived in modern day struggles as a symbol of solidarity and Southern pride. Free event; donations will be accepted.

The terror of the Tug

Saturday, Sept. 4

8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

McArts Amphitheater 

The Terror of the Tug, written by Jean Battlo, is an outdoor drama based on the West Virginia coal mine wars and the story of the murder of Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers on the steps of the McDowell County Courthouse. The backdrop of the story is southern West Virginia miners’ fight to join the UMWA, resulting in the murder of Hatfield and Chambers on the steps of the Courthouse in Welch on Aug 1921. This is a pivotal event in the struggles of the miners and their families that later led to the Battle of Blair Mountain. This is a must-see to understand both the historical and dramatic impact on the lives of so many in West Virginia history. 

Solidarity supper, storytelling, and songs

Sunday, Sept. 5

12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Big Laurel Learning Center 

Join us for supper, storytelling, and songs! Enjoy a delicious, home cooked, locally sourced meal and an afternoon of traditional folk music with lyrics that tell the story of West Virginia and coal mining history. Entertainment includes: Carrie and Michael Kline, Ginny Ayers and Tom Breiding.

Guided walking tour of historic Matewan

Sunday, Sept. 5

4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Hosted by the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, the tour will span the time from the feuding days of the Hatfields and McCoys, to the coming of the railroads, to the time when Matewan became ground zero for the union movement in Bloody Mingo. For the miners who marched south from Charleston in 1921, Blair Mountain was not their destination. The Red Neck Army intended to advance to Mingo County to relieve their striking brothers and sisters and destroy the Mine Guard System. The heart of this story is at Matewan.

"I Come Creeping," New paintings by Chris DeMaria

Sunday, Sept. 5

6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WV Mine Wars Museum 

“I Come Creeping,” New Paintings by Chris DeMaria is a new art exhibit consisting of original paintings. “I Come Creeping” will be installed inside the Solidarity Gallery at the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum in Matewan, WV and will be on display June 2021 - June 2022. Chris describes this series of work as “love letters” to those who stood up against a system of injustice during the Mine Wars, including his own ancestors.

The People's Church: A dissident coalfield worship experience

Monday, Sept. 6

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Coalfield Jamboree Theater 

In the spirit of our ancestors’ religious uprising, join us for a morning of worship as act of resistance, honoring the legacy and spiritual significance of what happened a century ago at Blair Mountain and serving as a spiritual call to action for the people of the Coalfields today in our continuing struggle for true freedom.

Blair Centennial finale hosted by UMWA at the Annual Labor Day Rally

Monday, Sept. 6

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

John Slack Memorial Park 

Join us for the official wrap up event of the Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial at the UMWA’s Annual Labor Day Rally. The UMWA played a pivotal role in the history of the Battle of Blair Mountain and subsequent improvements in the lives of miners and their families since then. Join us as we honor the men and women who put their lives on the line. And let’s have some fun at this once-in-a-hundred-year event.

Blair Mountain lecture series

Wed, Sept. 8, 1 p.m. to Wed, Nov. 17, 2 p.m.

UVA-Wise, Cantrell Hall 

In solidarity with the Battle of Blair Mountain series in Fall 2021, UVA-Wise College’s Center for Appalachia Studies is hosting a series of lectures on topics related to the Battle of Blair Mountain. Speakers include Dr. John Hennen on Blair Mountain and larger efforts to unionize in southern WV, Lloyd Thomlinson on the response Blair Mountain warranted from coal operators in southwest Virginia, Dr. Rebecca Bailey on the conditions and events that led up to Blair Mountain with a focus in Matewan, and Dr Bob Hutton on the brutal mine guard system that stoked coal miners and their need to unionize.

All lectures are FREE and will be hosted at a location on the campus of UVA-Wise at Cantrell Hall.

Coalfields Heritage Festival

Thu, Sept. 9, 9 a.m. to Sun, Sept. 12 at 10 a.m.

Welch, WV

The Coalfield Heritage Festival will be a special four day festival held on the historic streets of Welch. Special education day tied to the Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial, with storytellers, living historians, musicians, vendors, a carnival, special performances by the Terror on the Tug, and more.

Tours of Don Chafin house

Friday, Sept. 10

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Don Chafin House 

Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin was a key figure in the Battle of Blair Mountain. He was known as the infamous “Czar of Logan,” and was a leader of the defending forces during the Battle of Blair Mountain. And for the first time, members of the public are invited to tour his home. Chafin lived in this house from 1920-1933 and resided here during the Battle of Blair Mountain. Currently, Chafin’s home is the only structure in Logan County listed on the National Register of Historic places.

Appalachian Heritage Days

Fri, Sept. 10, 4 p.m. to Sat, Sept. 11, 4 p.m.

Logan County Courthouse/Chief Logan Lodge and Conference Center 

A Two-Day Event to celebrate Appalachian Heritage. Experience the sites, sounds and tastes of the southern coalfields of West Virginia. There will be a small charge for tickets to the Taste of the Coalfields to taste foods from the various vendors. All other activities are FREE. A great family event and a perfect opportunity get to know folks from this dynamic area.

INAUGURAL Redneck 5K Run (in conjunction with Appalachian Heritage Days)

Saturday, Sept. 11

8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Here’s a novel way to commemorate the Battle of Blair Centennial — run the path of the Battle in Logan County, West Virginia, a part of the U.S. lovingly called “hill country.” The race will host about 150 people for our INAUGURAL Redneck 5K Run. It’s a challenging race and embraces the unique heritage of the area.

The Road to Blair Mountain: Commemorating the West Virginia Mine Wars

Friday, June 18

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Looking to learn more about how and why the Battle of Blair Mountain occurred in the Mountain State? Join the WV and Regional History Center for a special, educational event in solidarity with the Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial event-series. This event is being held virtually on June 20, WV History Day, with a zoom link forthcoming.