When Miners March
William C. Blizzard
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Chronicling the West Virginia Mine Wars of the 1920s, this first-hand account of the coal miners' uprisings offers a new perspective on labor unrest during this time period. Complete with previously unpublished family photographs and documents, this retelling shares the experiences of Bill Blizzard, the author's father who was the leader of the Red Neck Army. The tensions between the union and the coal companies that led up to the famous Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest open and armed rebellion in United States history, are described in detail, as are its aftermath and legacy. Addressing labor issues in contemporary times, this historical narrative makes clear the human costs of extracting coal for electricity.
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laborers for coal mine – blacksmiths, track layers, drum runners, motor runners, motor helpers, trappers, greasers, slate men, tipple boys, mule drivers, tipple bosses, and men. Good steady job all the year around; family men of all nationalities preferred. Transportation furnished; long contract; also strong men used to pick work can make $6 per day. Strike on. Homes all furnished. All the coal you want, $1 per month. Here is your chance to make money and a good home. Apply early. Call Mr.
autobiography indicates that he was very blunt: “I reminded them they had broken the Union’s agreement with the coal operators by quitting their jobs without reason when the country was crying for coal.” He told the miners that their assemblage was unlawful and that he wouldn’t let them go. He was asked how he was going to stop them, but rather discreetly made no answer. It was not likely that he was in any real danger, but it is evident that he thought he was, for he makes this comment: “Should
placed in Bill’s yard until he died in ‘58. It then went to Charley and several generations of his family. They have made it available for display in the When Miners March Traveling Museum. “That thing was once the coal operators’ substitute for collective bargaining.” Bill Blizzard and Charley Payne Charleston Daily Mail, 2/10/1954 WHEN MINERS MARCH William C. Blizzard Copyright: © Appalachian Community Services 2010 All Rights Reserved ISBN: 978-1-60486-300-0 Library of Congress
desired something a bit more effective than the sometimes rather dry, although always helpful, reports of the state Chamber of Commerce, and the aid of the editors of the various local newspapers. The latter were doing well in pulling the wool over the eyes of the residents of West Virginia towns, but it was unfortunately true that national attention had been turned toward West Virginia by the Armed March and the consequent treason and murder trials. And this attention, as few remarks from