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Open Letter to Save Blair Mountain

Open Letter to Save Blair Mountain

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Published by Brandon Nida
Open Letter by prominent labor historians to preserve and protect the Blair Mountain battlefield in Logan, WV.
Open Letter by prominent labor historians to preserve and protect the Blair Mountain battlefield in Logan, WV.

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Published by: Brandon Nida on Oct 05, 2010
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10/05/2010

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TO:
Hon. Ken SalazarSecretary, US Department of Interior1849 C. Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20240kensalazar@ios.doi.gov 
 AND:
Ms. Carol D. ShullKeeper of the National Register of Historic Placesand Chief of the National Historic Landmarks Survey National Park Service1201 Eye St., NW  Washington, D.C. 20005carol_shull@nps.gov 
 AND:
Ms. Susan PierceDirector, State Historic Preservation Office West Virginia Division of Culture and History The Culture CenterCapitol Complex1900 Kanawha Boulevard EastCharleston WV 25305-0300susan.m.pierce@wv.gov 
 
 A 
N
O
PEN
L
ETTER 
 
TO
 
THE
 U. S. N
 ATIONAL
P
 ARK 
S
ERVICE
 
 AND
 
THE
  W 
EST
IRGINIA 
 S
TATE
H
ISTORIC
P
RESERVATION
O
FFICE
 As citizens concerned with the faithful representation of America’s rich and oftenturbulent national history, and as scholars and artists whose work has touched uponthe history of coal mining labor in West Virginia and beyond, we write to express ourstrong opposition to the National Park Service’s de-listing of Blair Mountain as a siteof national historic significance, and to support the legal challenge to that decisionlaunched by the Sierra Club, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC),Friends of Blair Mountain and the West Virginia Labor History Association. Many of us have worked productively with the Park Service in public history and heritagepreservation projects in the past, and are hopeful that this mistaken decision can bequickly reversed. As you are no doubt aware, Blair Mountain is the site of the largest armedinsurrection on U.S. soil since the Civil War, and one of the most significant events in American labor history. In 1993 a Congressionally-mandated ‘Labor History ThemeStudy’ by ten historians for the National Landmarks Program recommended BlairMountain as a landmark site. Both the site’s importance in our national history andthe urgency of adopting energetic measures to preserve it were recognized again in2006, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Blair Mountainone of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The National Park Serviceseemed to accept that logic when, in March 2009, it included Blair Mountain in theNational Register of Historic Places. We are deeply concerned at the reversal of thatdecision in the face of pressure from coal companies eager to strip mine the area, andalarmed by very recent reports that mining equipment is already being moved ontothe site. We therefore respectfully urge the National Park Service to immediately re-list Blair Mountain on the National Register of Historic Places.Signed,
Thomas G. Andrews
 Assistant Professor of History, University of Colorado at Denver Author,
 Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War 
Harvard Ayers
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Appalachian State University Principal Investigator,
 Blair Mountain Archaeological Project 
Stephen Brier
Professor in Urban Education, City University of New York Co-author,
Who Built America? Working People and the Nation's Economy, Politics,
 
Culture and Society
Colin J. Davis
Professor of History, University of Alabama at BirminghamCo-editor,
‘It is Union and Liberty’: Alabama Coal Miners and the UMW 
 Alan Derickson
Professor of Labor Studies and American History, Penn State University  Author,
Workers’ Health, Workers’ Democracy: The Western Miners’ Struggle,1891-1925 
Hazel Dickens
Singer and Songwriter from Mercer County, West Virginia; National Heritage AwardRecipient; Inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame Writer,
“West Virginia, My Home” 
Traci JoLeigh Drummond
 Archivist, Southern Labor Archives at Georgia State University Library 
 William Ferris
Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History, University of North Carolina atChapel HillSenior Associate Director,
Center for the Study of the American South
Leon Fink 
Distinguished Professor of History, University of Illinois at ChicagoEditor, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas
Kenneth Fones-Wolf 
Professor of History and Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair, West Virginia University  Author,
Glass Towns: Industry, Labor and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s
Denise Giardina
 American Book Award-Winning Novelist born in Bluefield, West Virginia Author,
 Storming Heaven
James Green
Professor of History and Labor Studies, University of Massachusetts at Boston Associate Producer,
Out of Darkness: The Mine Workers' Story
 Author, ‘
The Devil is Here in These Hills’: The West Virginia Mine Wars and the Meaning of Freedom in Industrial America
(forthcoming, Pantheon)
Cindy Hahamovitch
Professor of History, College of William and Mary President,
 Southern Labor Studies Association

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