MARMET, WV (WOWK) – The march to the Battle of Blair Mountain that led to safer and more fair working conditions for miners started in the town of Marmet, West Virginia.
“The labor rights that we enjoy were not just handed to us. There was bloodshed, there was a lot of struggles that happened,” Executive Director of West Virginia Mine Wars Museum Kenzie New-Walker says.
Monday, those who say they will never forget the sacrifices watched as a monument they call “Courage in the Hollers” was unveiled outside of the George Buckley Community Center, showing the miners’ fight to form a union.
This project began in 2021 after the centennial celebration of the battle. 100 years have passed and this area is still heavily influenced by the coal industry.
The people in Marmet say being a part of this historical event gives them pride in their community. A sense of pride New-Walker can relate to.
“I am the great-granddaughter of union workers. We’re really proud of this heritage. I really hope that West Virginians walk away with a lot of pride when they see these monuments because they are going to be up for generations,” New-Walker says Monday after the unveiling.
The monument represents generations who have benefited from the fight and is also a reminder of the sacrifices made and those who fought bravely.