I have it in my head to go there, to see where the last great Appalachian uprising (until the water debacle last year) happened. It didn’t end well, not really. It may be the only place in the US where the government dropped bombs on its own (white) people. I’m researching that and it seems to be so. I don’t know if the government has dropped bombs on any other folks but here it did, on behalf of mineowners, of corporations.
That was before Citizens United Not Timid and their sleazy Hillary movie that became a case for the Supremes and brought to light all that we all knew was happening anyway. It was House of Cards America circa 1921 when well-connected bosses talked their “elected officials” into doing the “right thing.” .
Here’s the Wikipedia entry–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Blair_Mountain
So, Blair Mountain was declared a protected area under the National Register of Historic Places but several groups–including Massey Energy, imagine that, and the state–contested it because there’s too much coal to be extracted there. And with the efficiency of mountain-top removal, the entire landscape can be forever changed. Erased. As so much of our history is erased and so often we don’t really care.
History schmistory. This also harkens back to my own West End neighborhood that was screwed out of its approved historic designation by local AVL pols who wanted to make sure they could destroy the place when time comes for the I-26 connector. The remnants of Chicken Hill were–at that time–destined to be the staging area for the big equipment. Still are, as far as I know.
I imagine there is some sort of historical marker at Blair Mountain but I’d like to get the feel of the place and how it happened and what really took them to the breaking point. And that may mean I need to focus my energy in Matewan, on the Tug River.