Aubust 15, 2011
The entire family is invited to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s presentation of “A Day of Coal,” from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The free family programming includes showings throughout the day of the documentary “Even the Heavens Weep: The West Virginia Mine Wars” (1985, 60 min.), a children’s art project and a panel discussion on “The Battle of Blair Mountain: A Historical Perspective.”
The documentary, produced by WPBY-TV in Huntington, centers on the march by 10,000 armed miners to Blair Mountain in 1921, the largest gathering of armed workers in American history. The narrator, television actor Mike Conners, describes the film as “. . . the story of coal, the making of a union, and the collision of competing interests and dreams.” The film uses old photographs, archival film and interviews with historians and West Virginians who recall those days, to tell the story.
From 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., children can create foam cutouts of coal-related items such as shovels, hammers and pickaxes to take home with them.
At 1 p.m., Paul J. Nyden will lead the panel discussion to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. The discussion will focus on what caused the battle, the march and the repercussions of the event.
Panelists will include John P. David, Stan Bumgardner and Fred Barkey. After each panelist makes remarks, Nyden will pose questions and then open the discussion to the audience for a question and answer session.
Nyden has been a reporter for the Charleston Gazette for nearly 30 years and has won numerous awards, including the George Polk Award and three first-place reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. In 1974, he completed his Ph.D. dissertation at Columbia University, Miners for Democracy: Struggle in the Coalfields.
David is an economics and labor professor who chairs the department of social sciences and public administration at West Virginia University Institute of Technology and writes on economic issues. He also is the director of the Southern Appalachian Labor School, a nonprofit organization dedicated to youth development, housing and social justice issues.
Bumgardner is a free-lance historian and museum design specialist and operator of Bumgardner Enterprises in Charleston. He also has written several books, including Charleston, (2006) which includes many historic photographs and postcards about the city, and The Children’s Home Society of West Virginia: Children – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (1996).
Barkey received his Ph.D. in history with a concentration in United States labor history. He has taught history at the University of Charleston and the Institute for Labor Studies at West Virginia University, was named professor emeritus at West Virginia Graduate College and a Danforth Associate in recognition of his outstanding college teaching.
“A Day of Coal” will end with a reception and light refreshments from 2 - 3 p.m. in the Great Hall.
For more information, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner of the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.