March on Blair Mountain
Historic Blair Mountain continues to to be gobbled at its edges by the voracious strip mining practice of mountaintop removal. 90 years earlier, miners seeking to organize themselves in the face of deplorable working conditions and wages had been met by the coal industry, and a major battle had ensued. A new, nonviolent battle continues to save this mountain, and indeed all mountains, from being ravaged by mountaintop removal.
For more information and ongoing activities, contact Friends of Blair Mountain.
The battle is enjoined as peaceful activists continue to seek redress for the following:
1. Save Blair Mountain from the threat of being demolished by the coal industry in mountaintop removal. The battlefield itself should be on the National Historical Register, and was for a short time until the WV government lobbied to have it removed.
2. Abolish mountaintop removal immediately and comprehensively across the nation. This egregious practice permanently degrades God’s creation and poisons air and water to the detriment of health.
3. Strengthen labor rights. The April, 2010 disaster at Upper Big Branch Mine simply is an example of safety being sacrificed for profit. Treating land as a commodity and laborers as a commodity go hand in glove.
4. Develop a sustainable, viable new economy. God’s intention is that communities live in harmony together with everyone contributing and everyone having his and her needs met, and the earth healthy. New jobs need to be created that are ecologically soft on the land and its people.
Hundreds of people convened the first week of June, 2011, for a “March on Blair Mountain" in commitment to protect Blair Mountain and all other mountains, and to restore the land and people to a sustainable, vigorous economy.
Christians For The Mountains marched with a "Black Cross of Coal." This cross is black, splotched with read, which symbolizes death. At the head is a chunk of coal, which is the "idol" whose reckless pursuit is destroying land, water, air, and the health and vibrant communities of people. Near the top is a wreath of barbed wire, symbolizing the King Coal's false crown.
Our cross of coal is analogous to an event in 1996, when populist Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan concluded his nomination speech with the stirring words, "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."
|CFTM's Laura Dagley and Allen Johnson with coal cross||Allen Johnson and 96 yr. old Ken Hechler||Laura Dagley with "Gasland" producer Josh Fox|
|Families marched for a brigher future of our children||Larry Gibson and friend listen to Ken Hechler speak||Laura Dagley, Allen Johnson, and Maria Gunnoe|