“We’re developing a series of community-created public monuments within the rural Applahacian landscape that memorialize a history that was explicitly removed from educational curricula and that rarely appeared in history books. Why was this dramatic story suppressed? Because it was critical lived example of the power of cross-racial, multi-ethnic solidarity.”
–Shaun Slifer, Courage in the Hollers
In the heart of central Appalachian coalfields, Courage in the Hollers: Mapping the Miners’ Struggle to Form a Union commemorates the history of labor organizing by memorializing the Battle of Blair Mountain, celebrating the collective efforts of a multiethnic, multiracial working class who stood up against oppression 100 years ago across the same rural landscape where it took place. Working in Clothier and Marmet West Virginia, the focus of this Re:Generation project period was a community design process which built on ongoing union organizing and public memory efforts to build an incredibly creative response to the challenges of commemorating collective action and solidarity.
Working from photographic portraits of local union leaders, the Courage in the Hollers team designed, fabricated, and dedicated steel-cut monuments and historic markers that emphasized the lineage of struggle. The Re:Generation project has prompted a catalytic expansion of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum with additional support for capital improvements, staffing, and expanded educational and organizing programming.
Team members include: Mackenzie New Walker, Erin Bates, Mike Johnson, Brian Lacy, Kirstyn Ooten, Shaun Slifer, Bobby Starnes, Terry Steele, and Kyle Warmack.
Local Partner Organization: West Virginia Mine Wars Museum
Social Media: @wvminewars @umwaunion
Keep exploring! Visit the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, the anchor institution of the Courage in the Hollers project: here