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To arms! The Battle of Blair Mountain, in Logan County, West Virginia, was the most important working-class insurrection and the largest confrontation in the United States since the Civil War.
The Appalachia region was the stage for the so-called Coal Wars in the first half of the 20th century, a series of disputes in which miner trade unions fought for labor rights and better working conditions.
William Sidney «Sid» Hatfield
Matewan’s Police Chief, he helped arm the miners struggling for their rights.
Mary Harris «Mother» Jones
Orator and organizer, she played a main role in the Miners Union.
William H. Blizzard
Union Organizer, commander of the miners army during the Battle of Blair Mountain.
The biggest clash took place in Logan County in August 1921. After assassinations and repression to try and stop the creation of trade unions in the county mines, ten thousand miners took up arms to fight for their rights. With better weaponry, including bombs and poison gas, authorities responded with extreme violence and killed over 100 miners.
The National Guard finally forced the workers to demobilize. Some escaped, while others served prison sentences.
Blair Mountain was a defeat for trade unions, especially the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) which lost half of its membership. However, the miners’ bravery exposed the cruel workplace conditions at the time and led to improved rights in the medium term.