As a follow-up to their successful dig in Mingo County on the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, the National Geographic’s hit-show “Diggers” will return to Southern West Virginia with a new episode: “Of Mines and Men,” which will feature “KG and Ringy”, the stars of the show, exploring Blair Mountain, the site of the “Battle of Blair Mountain” which is the largest battle on U.S. soil since the Civil War.
In August of 1921, armed miners from the Kanawha Valley and the southern counties of Boone, Fayette, Mingo, McDowell, and Logan gathered at Marmet in Kanawha County. The miners proposed to march to Logan and Mingo counties to rescue union miners who had been jailed or mistreated in attempts to unionize the mines. Their efforts brought on the most spectacular confrontation in West Virginia’s labor history.
The U.S. government turned cutting edge weapons of the time against its own people. “Today it would be the equivalent of our military using smart bombs and stealth fighters on its own citizens,” said Bill Richardson, WVU Extension Professor, adding that “These events happened in the wake of the first 9/11 – the first large scale terrorist attack on American soil.”
When NatGeo’s “Diggers” visited Blair Mountain in Logan County, West Virginia, their goal, along with the help of an archaeologist, was to locate exactly where the miners pushed up the hill and broke through the line of guards. For nearly a century, details of the battle have been unclear, but if successful, KG and Ringy could uncover a huge piece of West Virginia’s history.
During a time when workers were being exploited at every hand and the nation had to decide whether the rights of individuals or the political power of rich industrialists would prevail, the coal miners of West Virginia were caught right in the middle of these struggling forces. Their decision to fight back made history and brought them face to face with the U.S. military.
“I watched them shoot the episode and it will be very action packed,” Richardson said. “It also gives us new information about a turning point event in American history. I did a film called Mine Wars on this subject and the Diggers uncovered details about the battle that we never knew before. “
To see the show tune in to National Geographic Channel on Tuesday, February 5th, at 10 p.m. EST.
For more information visit: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/diggers/episodes/of-mines-and-men/