Historic Battleground Saved From Corporate Destruction

The Battlefield of the Largest Armed Uprising in the US Since the Civil War.

Matt Orfalea
2 min readJul 1, 2018


In 1921 ten thousand coal miners rebelled against oppressive West Virginia coal companies. At Blair Mountain the coal miners exchanged over one million rounds with coal company forces until the National Guard intervened.

Just this week, after a fierce10 year legal battle, historians and labor rights activists have finally succeeded in making the Blair Mountain battlefield a nationally recognized and protected historic site.

Forgotten History

The history of coal companies violently exploiting their workers, and the violent rebellion that ensued, is a history that West Virginian coal companies have worked to suppress for nearly a century. The conflicts have been edited out of history books and more recently coal companies acquired permits to literally blow up the history by blast mining Blair Mountain out of existence.

The Second Battle of Blair Mountain

In the last decade historians and activists have fought a second Battle of Blair Mountain to preserve the battlefield, placing it on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. But coal companies managed to reverse the decision using underhanded dishonest tactics, even going so low as to include the names of dead people in a list of objectors.

Upon hearing the National Park Service’s new decision to put Blair Mountain back on the National Registrar of Historic Places, historian and activist Professor Chuck Keeney said, “It has been a very long, arduous struggle, but we finally came out on top.”

UPDATE (5/7/18): Not surprisingly the coal companies will not be giving up their permits easily. The battle continues…

To learn more about the fascinating history of Blair Mountain check out my interview with Professor Chuck Keeney below:

Hey you, thanks for reading! My work is entirely crowdfunded so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, watching me on Youtube, liking me on Facebook, and supporting my work on Patreon.