Author Archives: John

About John

Urban Planner Soccer Player. Women Lover. Rock Climber. Environmentalist. Urban Studies.

The March on Blair Mountain

Blair Mountain in Logan County, West Virginia, was the site of the largest open class war in U.S. history. In 1921, after a generation of violent suppression and exploitation of the people in the southern coalfields of WV, 15,000 coal miners rebelled in an attempt to overthrow the control of coal barons.

1920-1921 Mine War Locations

They met the anti-union forces of the coal-operator army on Blair Mountain and the surrounding ridges. The battlefront was roughly 15 miles long, and more than one million rounds were estimated to have been fired over the course of the five day battle. Both sides were heavily armed with machine guns, high powered rifles, and explosives. The anti-union forces even employed airplanes for reconnaissance as well as for dropping homemade bombs on the miners.

BM Battlefield

With the battle raging in the hills and hollows around Blair Mountain, federal troops were called in and were able to peacefully stop the conflict without a shot fired. The miners dispersed and went back to their homes, and the news reporters returned to their editors. The battle received above the fold coverage in major newspapers of the day, including the New York Times. But soon, the battle faded into obscurity, and over time has been largely forgotten.

So today, although this battle was the largest insurrection after the Civil War, it is not taught in our schools and most Americans and even West Virginians have never heard about it. Even worse, the battlefield is severely threatened by encroaching surface mining operations, and the fate of this remarkable place is uncertain. We have been attempting over the last 20 years to get the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and this is currently our primary focus. For more on this struggle, please visit our page that fully describes our efforts and where the process is right now.

We will continue to work to save one of West Virginia’s most significant historical resources. We feel that there is a balance that should be sought between historical preservation and the need for jobs in the southern coalfields. We have attempted to seek compromise with coal industry officials by expressing our support for a traditional deep-shaft mine to extract the coal, which would be far less detrimental than the wholesale destruction of surface mining. We would stand-by to advise and work with coal companies in order to best manage and preserve this extremely significant archaeological resource. We feel this would allow us to pass this site on to future generations, create jobs for coal miners (which ostensibly would be union jobs), and generate small business growth in the area from heritage tourism.

We invite you to join us in our efforts. Due to the threat of destruction, Blair Mountain is once again being remembered and its symbolism of resistance is being reinterpreted and reasserted by labor unions and social justice movements in contemporary struggles. The tradition of the red bandanna that the miners wore in 1921 remains today, worn by those working to correct injustices in the southern coalfields, and is a powerful symbol of our long heritage of resistance and activism.

Put on your work boots, tie a red bandanna around your neck, and get to work.

Via Friends of Blair Mountain blog contains information, history, news, and donation area.

In 1921, Blair Mountain, W. Va., was the site of a major milestone in the history of the labor movement when 15,000 union miners took a stand against the coal industry. This week, Blair Mountain may end up being a new milestone in the movement to abolish mountaintop-removal coal mining and perhaps the larger climate justice movement. Hundreds of activists are recreating the miners’ historic march from Marmet to Blair Mountain to try to protect the controversial historic site from being blown up for the thin seam of coal underneath

Blair Mountain: A new milestone in the climate justice movement?
via Grist, read the rest there.

Visit the March on Blair Mountain: Appalachia is Rising site to review video from yesterdays event and stay current with today’s events.

cross posted at An Unforgettable Hell on Earth

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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Activism, News and Info


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One Year After Haiti’s Quake, U.S. Gov’t, BofA and Others Still Have Unfulfilled Pledges

by Marian Wang ProPublica, Jan. 12, 2011, 11:30 a.m.

One year after an earthquake shook Haiti and devastated its infrastructure, a number of stories are pouring out from the country about its tent cities [1], its rampant problem with rape [2], the massive amount of rubble [3] that still exists2014and the houses [4] that still don2019t.Much of the emergency aid from governments and charities went to basic services meant to keep people alive temporarily2014tents, tarps, food and medical aid. The Miami Herald reported, however, that reconstruction aid hasn2019t come in quite as quickly:

And while the private money is going fast, the $2 billion governments around the world pledged to spend in 2010 on reconstruction, experts agree, remain mostly on drawing boards and in bank accounts.

The U.S. government, for one, has pledged $1.15 billion [5] to reconstruction. Mother Jones reported that though the government has spent more than a billion on emergency aid for Haiti, only $120 million of the funding it pledged for reconstruction has arrived.

Many large U.S. corporations also pledged funds to Haiti after the quake. While some of that money has been sent, a few companies haven2019t yet [6] made good on their promises. Here2019s Mother Jones2019 tally from last week:

GE has sent the $5.6 million it promised. Google [7] has delivered the $1 million it pledged, Citi [8] has sent $1.5 million out of $2 million and says the rest is on the way, and Wal-Mart [9] committed $500,0002014but then forked over $1.5 million, plus food and blankets.

2026 Bank of America has donated only a third of its promised $1.5 million, and MasterCard has given only $250,000 of the $4.75 million it pledged to give.

We2019ve called a few of the companies and will update if anything has changed.

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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Aid, News and Info


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Coming to terms with Sean Penn (well, sort of…)


Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Activism, Aid, links, opinion


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We are finishing up our obligations so we present you with some suggested links.

Retailers Fight to Escape ‘Conflict Minerals’ Law

Dos and Don’ts of holiday gift giving from Good Intentions are Not Enough

Give Well

Lessons from the Past: Reflections on U.S. Efforts to Bring Peace to Sudan


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Posted by on December 1, 2010 in Other Stuff


9500 Liberty


Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect is an undocumented immigrant.

9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by a climate of fear and racial division, residents form a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls, setting up a real-life showdown in the seat of county government.

The devastating social and economic impact of the “Immigration Resolution” is felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. But the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse this policy unfolds inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.

Drop the I Word

Get A Copy of the Film

Watch this great film for free!
Just get three friends to watch too.
If you’ve signed the pledge to Drop the I-word, we thank you. You’ve joined thousands of people from across the country who are demanding respect by rejecting the I-Word, “illegals”, as a designation of their neighbors, children, families and themselves.

We hope that you will continue to educate others by hosting a viewing party for 9500 Liberty, a movie that tells the story of Prince William County, Virginia, which passed a law just like Arizona’s SB 1070 in 2007. Anyone who cares about the future of our country must see this film.

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Posted by on November 18, 2010 in get educated


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Aung San Suu Kyi freed

Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi freed in Rangoon as crowds celebrate

Global reaction to Aung San Suu Kyi’s release

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Posted by on November 13, 2010 in Burma



Animal Shaped Cities in South Sudan

Juba in the shape of a Rhino.

Wau into a giraffe, according to the Independent.

South Sudan Plans $10.1 Billion Animal-Shaped Cities

Southern Sudan unveils plans to build animal-shaped cities

Rhino City Planned in Sudan
Flora, Fauna, & Flamboyance: Southern Sudan’s Municipal Fantasy

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Posted by on August 24, 2010 in Africa, Other Stuff, The Sudan


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