Activists in West Virginia will wrap up a weeklong march tomorrow to save a mountain that played a role in the fight to unionize the coalfields.
For five days, a group has been marching fifty miles through southern West Virginia to Blair Mountain. In the 1920s, it was there that miners wanting to unionize came up against both coal company forces and the federal government. A battle ensued. Two mining companies want to mine Blair Mountain, and marchers are hoping to get the site added to the National Register of Historic Places.
For some, the fight is about strip mining. But Mary Love, an Oldham County resident and member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, says she has another motivation for making the trip
“We’re going to try to preserve the historic site, not to try to say anything about mountaintop removal this time,” she said.
Ben Wiley is traveling with Love. He just graduated from DuPont Manual High School in Louisville and arrived in West Virginia for the march today.
“I’m going to this largely because of my concern for the environment but also because I’m concerned about workers’ rights,” he said.
The march culminates in a rally on the mountain.