In 1972 Anne Lawrence came to West Virginia at the invitation of the Miners for Democracy movement to conduct interviews with participants in, and observers of, the Battle of Blair Mountain and other Appalachian mine wars of the 1920s and ’30s. The set of oral histories she collected—the only document of its kind—circulated for many years as an informal typescript volume, acquiring an almost legendary status among those intrigued by the subject. Key selections from it appear here for the first time as a published book, supplemented with introductory material, maps, and photographs. The volume’s vivid, conversational mode invites readers into miners’ lived experiences and helps us understand why they took up arms to fight anti-union forces in some of the nation’s largest labor uprisings.
Published to coincide with the celebration of the Blair Mountain centennial in 2021, On Dark and Bloody Ground includes a preface by public historian Catherine Venable Moore and an afterword by Cecil E. Roberts of the United Mine Workers of America.
On Dark and Bloody Ground: An Oral History of the West Virginia Mine Wars
WVU Press 2021