“So the idea was to recruit basically a third black miners, a third immigrant, and a third native white and cramp them all together and they'll fight amongst each other and that way they'll be less likely to unionize.
"And it didn't work and the reason it didn't work, the miners themselves were able to actually overcome those barriers...and that helped foster an attitude in which people were able to put aside their differences...to at least overcome their prejudices enough to know that they were in the same boat from a class consciousness standpoint.”
Dr. Charles Keeney is the author of The Road to Blair Mountain Saving a Mine Wars Battlefield from King Coal, which was published in January 2021 of West Virginia University Press and he is founding member of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum.
We center the conversation around Dr. Keeney’s book and the Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial Commemoration over Labor Day Weekend 2021.
In this conversation, we discuss:
Dr. Keeney’s family history steeped in labor struggles going back to his great grandfather Frank Keeney;
What was the Battle of Blair Mountain and why it is relevant;
His book The Road to Blair Mountain Saving a Mine Wars Battlefield from King Coal;
The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum;
Politics in West Virginia; and
The role of teaching labor history as central to human progress.
Follow the relevant links to Dr. Keeney’s work and labor struggles in West Virginia:
West Virginia Mine Wars Museum - https://wvminewars.org/
Frank Keeney - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Keeney
Matewan directed by John Sayles
Follow the events around the Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial Commemoration over Labor Day Weekend 2021 https://www.blair100.com/. Empathy Media Lab will be in Charleston, West Virginia over the weekend filming and interviewing labor activists. If you have content ideas or want to meet up, please reach out!
Empathy Media Lab is produced by Evan Matthew Papp and we are a proud member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network. Support media, authors, activists, artists, historians, and journalists, who are fighting to improve the prosperity of the working class everywhere. Solidarity forever.
Website - https://www.empathymedialab.com/
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