FAIRMONT — The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is pleased to announce the fall 2021 Phyllis W. Moore Authors Series. During the fall series, authors will continue to focus on labor in West Virginia while commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. All events in the series are free and open to the public.
“The story of labor in America is inherently linked to the tragic events of Blair Mountain one hundred years ago,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Through the words of our brilliant Phyllis W. Moore Authors Series guests, we will revisit and reimagine those events, and examine the human cost of mining and the fight for workers’ rights.”
Davitt McAteer, Fairmont native and former assistant secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, will discuss his book, Monongah: The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disaster. McAteer’s nearly thirty years of research suggests that close to 500 men and boys—many of them immigrants—lost their lives that day, leaving hundreds of women widowed and more than one thousand children orphaned. McAteer will speak at the Folklife Center on Sunday, September 19 at 2 p.m.
Novelist and activist, Denise Giardina, will speak online about her book, Storming Heaven. Giardina’s fictionalized version of the Battle of Blair Mountain, when the United States Army greeted ten thousand unemployed pro-union miners with airplanes, bombs and poison gas, is told in the voices of an activist mayor, a union man, a nurse and a Sicilian immigrant. This online event will be held on Tuesday, September 21 at 7 p.m. The event can be accessed at www.fairmontstate.edu/giardinawebex.
Charles B. Keeney will discuss his book, The Road to Blair Mountain: Saving a Mine Wars Battlefield from King Coal on Monday, September 27 at 7 p.m. at the Folklife Center. In 1921, Blair Mountain in southern West Virginia was the site of the country’s bloodiest armed insurrection since the Civil War, a battle pitting miners led by Frank Keeney against agents of the coal barons intent on quashing organized labor. Keeney will tell of the nine-year struggle to save the historic battle site.
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is proud to preserve and perpetuate West Virginia’s rich cultural heritage through its archives including the Phyllis W. Moore West Virginia Authors Collection. Moore’s collection is open to scholars and researchers. The Folklife Center’s exhibits are open to visitors Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information or to schedule a group tour, contact 304-367-4403.