Legends and legacies

Stories from the W.Va. Mine Wars era

Staff Report

MATEWAN — Like a good story? The tales of the West Virginia Mine Wars Era have been passed down through the kin of miners, mine guards and town folk. And on Saturday, September 10th at 2:30 p.m. in Matewan, we’ll have a chance to hear some of those stories first hand, from the descendants of those who shaped the Mine Wars Era.

The ancestors of these storytellers set into motion a union that would forever change labor relations in coal mining communities across our country—and would show to laborers across the globe what worker power could look like. Tales from that most difficult, nation-changing time not only give insight into how we’ve arrived at this moment, but also show what’s possible when we join together and work with one another for a better future.

Join us at 2:30 p.m. on September 10th at Matewan’s Homecoming for this hour of storytelling at the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, located on Mate Street in historic downtown Matewan. And while you’re here perhaps you’ll have a tale to share? We’d love to hear it.

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum houses permanent exhibits on life in company towns, strikes, and battles that comprise the West Virginia Mine Wars—a twenty-year period of labor violence in southern West Virginia, in which coal miners fought company forces for their constitutional rights and independence.

The museum recently unveiled a new permanent Miners’ Memorial Exhibit, which presents a concise history of mining disasters in West Virginia. The public is invited to add to the display by contributing names of friends, family, and loved ones who have been injured or killed while mining coal. The names may be etched onto brass check tags and hung on the exhibit.

The museum partners with local organizations, including Turn This Town Around Matewan, the Matewan Depot, the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, and UMWA Local 1440. Its mission is to preserve and interpret artifacts and historical records of the local communities affected by the Mine Wars, exploring historical events from multiple perspectives through the lives of ordinary people.

This season’s hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information on the museum, visit wvminewars.com or call 304-663-2202.

Stories from the W.Va. Mine Wars era

Staff Report

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