The Battle of Blair Mountain
Few today will recall the miners' struggle on that peak they call Blair Mountain.
It was on this mount that 10,000 coal miners marched to protest their oppression.
They wore red bandannas around their necks, "red necks" they were later called
They rose up to protect their jobs, their families, their way of life.
But those who owned the mines were of a different mind
They cared little about their workers' wages, their living conditions, the dusty labor camp homes, or what they could afford to buy in the company store.
They paid them in worthless company chips, of value only in their stores.
The owners controlled the miners, treated the cold hard coal with more respect They threw miner possessions out on the streets
and made families live in tents which they later riddled with bullets
They hired private guards to enforce their orders
and then appealed to Washington for federal troop protection.
The troops came with rifles, bayonets, machine guns, and orders to fire as needed
And fire they did, as those red bandannas were stained with crimson blood.
Yes, few will remember the hundred souls that lay dead.
No monuments recall their sacrifice, no stones mark where the fell.
And yet their struggle continues, in the lives of workers oppressed by a system
Unable to provide for children and family, working not to live but only to survive.
Blair Mountain alone survives as its own monument to social injustice.