by Jim Sconyers, Chapter Chair |
The last day of the March to Blair Mountain was memorable and uplifting!
Hundreds of marchers who had spent 5 days on the way from Marmet to Blair, retracing the route of the thousands of miners who fought coal company gun thugs and sheriff deputies for the right to unionize, were joined by more hundreds for a rally in Blair and the last leg of the March, to the summit of Blair Mountain.
A crowd of 800-plus masses at the summit of Blair Mountain
The rally featured notables and performers - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Hudson Riverkeeper, Ken Hechler, former Congressman and West Virginia Secretary of State, Larry Gibson, Kayford Mountainkeeper, James Weekly, “poster boy” of the fight against MTR, West Virginia author Denise Giardina, music legend Kathy Mattea, Mari-Lynn Evans, Coal Country film maker, Josh Fox, Gasland film maker, Terri Blanton, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. An estimated 800+ set off up the mountain. At the summit, more speakers, placement of a memorial sign honoring the miners who fought and died on Blair Mountain, then the walk back to Blair and the journey home.
Robert Kennedy speaks Kathy Mattea performs
All photos by Jim Sconyers
Most memorable quotation of the day to this observer: Robert F. Kennedy, who said (as nearly as I remember), “When the government takes over corporations, that’s called communism. When the corporations take over government, that’s called fascism. That’s what you have here in West Virginia, where the corporations, most notably huge out-of-state coal companies, own the government.”