INSTITUTE INDEX: Remembering West Virginia's Battle of Blair Mountain at 100

Coal miners sit in a sniper's nest with a machine gun during West Virginia's Battle of Blair Mountain, which began 100 years ago this month and remains the biggest labor uprising in U.S. history. (Photo via Wikipedia.)

Date on which the United Mine Workers of America will kick off a re-creation of coal miners' 50-mile protest march through southern West Virginia that 100 years ago this month culminated in a deadly days-long gunfight known as the Battle of Blair Mountain, part of the wider West Virginia Mine Wars fought over union rights: 9/3/2021

Among the largest labor uprisings in U.S. history, rank of the battle, in which white, Black, and immigrant miners — many of them U.S. veterans — fought together against coal companies, their private guards, and local and state law enforcement: 1

Date on which Matewan, West Virginia, Police Chief Sid Hatfield — a hero to miners for standing up to the Baldwin-Felts private detectives employed by coal companies as mine guards — was shot dead on the McDowell County Courthouse steps by Baldwin-Felts agents, setting off a series of events that would culminate in the Battle of Blair Mountain: 8/1/1921

Number of miners who took part in the 1921 march, which protested inhumane conditions and demanded an end to local martial law and law enforcement violence that suppressed union organizing: 10,000

Number of days from late August to early September 1921 that there was fighting on Blair Mountain between miners bearing high-powered rifles and machine guns and 3,000 law enforcement officers and strikebreakers backed by mine operators: 5

Number of bombs — some filled with tear gas and others with nuts and bolts and gunpowder — dropped on the miners from planes dispatched by Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin, a corrupt ally of the coal companies: 4

Estimated number of rounds of ammunition fired in the battle, which ended after President Warren Harding called in federal troops, causing the miners to surrender: 1 million

Estimated number of people killed in the battle, most of them miners, with the exact number never confirmed: 20 to 100

Number of miners who were later indicted for "murder, conspiracy to commit murder, accessory to murder, and treason against the State of West Virginia," though some were acquitted by sympathetic juries: 985

While membership in West Virginia's UMW dropped in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Blair Mountain, year by which the union organized the state's coalfields: 1933

Year in which the Blair Mountain battlefield was first listed on the National Register of Historic Places to protect it from strip mining: 2009

Year in which the administration of then-Gov. Joe Manchin, now a U.S. senator representing West Virginia, asked for Blair Mountain to be removed from the historic register: 2009

Year in which the site was put back on the register following a legal fight led by Friends of Blair Mountain, a group led by West Virginia historian Charles Keeney, whose great-grandfather Frank was president of the state UMWA and a leader of the battle: 2018

Year in which Charles Keeney published "The Road to Blair Mountain: Saving a Mine Wars Battlefield From King Coal" that documents the grassroots effort to preserve the site: 2021

(Click on figure to go to source.)