2021 Goldenseal - Summer
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Item Type : Magazine Single Issue
Publisher : West Virginia Division of Culture and History
Date Published : Summer 2021

Description: The entire Summer 2021 issue of GOLDENSEAL magazine is dedicated to the West Virginia Mine Wars, a violent series of escalating conflicts between miners and coal companies in the early 1900s. This edition marks the 100th anniversary of the culminating event, when thousands of armed miners marched from Marmet in Kanawha County, through Boone County, and fought a bloody battle against forces under Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin at Blair Mountain. Aaron Parsons traces the turbulent life of Frank Keeney, an influential labor leader who helped spur on the march before falling from grace in his own union after the miners’ defeat. R. G. Yoho paints a notorious picture of C. E. Lively, who spied on the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) at Matewan and directed the murders of labor heroes Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers, sparking the armed march. Ginny Savage Ayers, the daughter of noted Mine Wars historian Lon Savage, shines a light on an important but often overlooked union leader during this time: A. D. Lavinder. Gordon Simmons deliberates on Mary Harris “Mother” Jones’ baffling, futile effort to halt the march. Historian Merle T. Cole looks at the State Police’s limited role before and during the battle. Wes Holden shares his family’s account of one of the more bizarre Mine Wars incidents: UMWA District 17 Vice-President Bill Petry shooting Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin in downtown Charleston. Julian Martin, a retired Lincoln County teacher and West Virginia’s first Peace Corps volunteer, relates some Blair Mountain stories told to him by his late grandfather-in-law Huey Hager. Kenzie New Walker—the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of union miners—writes about the marching miners’ red bandanas and what the term “redneck” means to her today. Sam Heywood examines why the Mine Wars were omitted from West Virginia Studies books until recently. Eric Douglas interviews Jean Battlo of Kimball (McDowell County) and Denise Giardina of Charleston (Kanawha County), who wrote two of the finest works of historical fiction based on the Mine Wars. Paul Gartner explains how music has played a key role in the labor movement over time. Charles B. Keeney III, the great-grandson of Frank Keeney, recounts how he and others fought to preserve the Blair Mountain Battlefield from destruction. This issue also highlights the work of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum in Matewan (Mingo County) and Blair Mountain Centennial events, scheduled mostly around Labor Day. Finally, state folklorist Emily Hilliard pays tribute to longtime United Food and Commercial Workers Local 347 President Sterling Ball of Parkersburg (Wood County), who shows how far the labor movement has come in a century.

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