In October, I had the honor of addressing attendees of Camp Solidarity, a union training event hosted by the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum in Matewan, West Virginia. Over the course of the weekend, a series of workshops offered strategies, tactics, and history lessons to local and state level union members and leaders. I spoke to the group about the history of the West Virginia Mine Wars and how this story fits into the broader arc of U.S. labor history, including the present. It was a real joy to be a part of the conversation.
I’m excited to share that all 9,000+ pages of transcripts of the Battle of Blair Mountain Treason Trials are now available for download from West Virginia University Libraries. Several years ago, I worked with my friend Tyler Cannon to scan each and every page–a huge effort made possible by funding from MacDowell / the Calderwood Fund for Project Grants to Journalism Fellows. We donated the scans to WVU, which has now made them publicly available in a blog post as downloadable PDFs. This is an incredible resource for those of us interested in American labor history in the Progressive Era, and until now it has been locked away on reels of microfilm in the library’s vaults, only available to those researchers with the time and resources to come to Morgantown and read them on a special machine. The accounts of events given in these pages by eyewitnesses and others have greatly informed the story I am telling in my forthcoming nonfiction history of the West Virginia Mine Wars, providing detail, texture, and humanity to an otherwise hidden history.