Benny Becker/ WMMT

Too many times, when stories of Appalachia are in the national spotlight, we hear shallow, shocking and grim stories. But they miss some of the most inspiring aspects to our realities: the struggle, the perseverance and the resilience.  On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia we’ll meet storytellers who work to help Appalachians tell their own stories, and capture the true Appalachian spirit behind the statistics.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, when all was said and done this past weekend, the Secretary of State’s office reports about one in 10 voters showed up to polls, and about 70 percent of them were in favor of passing Governor Jim Justice’s road bond. Glynis Board has details.

Sept. 15, 1875 - Governor Henry Hatfield Born Near Matewan

Sep 15, 2017
Henry Hatfield
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Governor Henry Hatfield was born near Matewan on September 15, 1875.

While his Hatfield relatives were fighting their famous feud against the McCoys, Henry was away at college. He eventually became a coal-camp physician in McDowell County. Appalled by the lack of medical facilities, he fought to have three miners’ hospitals established in the state and served as director of the Welch hospital for 13 years.

Courtesy of Kenneth King and the WV Mine Wars Museum

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum has received a $30,000 challenge grant for a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 2021.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced the grant last week. The museum is located in Matewan.

May 19, 1920: Miners, Baldwin-Felts Agents Killed in Matewan Massacre

May 19, 2017
West Virginia Focus

On May 19, 1920, one of the bloodiest events in the West Virginia Mine Wars unfolded in the Mingo County town of Matewan. Four months earlier, the United Mine Workers of America had launched a major campaign to organize southern West Virginia’s non-union coalfields. Along the West Virginia-Kentucky line, some 3,000 miners joined the union and were fired from their jobs. Hundreds had to leave their coal company-owned houses. Those who refused were evicted by the detested Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin held a packed town hall for miners in Matewan today, assuring attendees that he would fight for health benefits and pensions at risk of running out of money by the end of April.

Union miners who put in 20 or more years were promised lifelong health benefits and pensions decades ago. But as coal companies have gone into bankruptcy, they've sought to shed liabilities, including paying into the pension and benefit funds.

Sen. Joe Manchin takes questions from reporters before the town hall meeting.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has announced a Town Hall meeting Friday in the state's southern coal country to meet with miners.

Manchin has been pushing legislation to extend health and pension benefits to retired union miners, saying they were promised by then-President Harry Truman and are about to expire.

Killing the McCoys Munsey mag
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

One of the pivotal events in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud occurred on August 8, 1882. Tensions between the two families had started rising a few days earlier, when Ellison Hatfield—the brother of Hatfield patriarch “Devil Anse”—was mortally wounded by three of Randolph McCoy’s sons in a drunken election-day brawl. Apparently, the fight occurred over a small debt owed on a fiddle.

After learning of the incident, “Devil Anse” Hatfield gathered up his wounded brother. His sons and other family members captured Tolbert, Pharmer, and Randolph McCoy Jr.

Sam Church
Tim C. Cox/Bristol Herald-Courier / WV Humanitites Council

Union leader Sam Church died in Bristol, Tennessee, on July 14, 2009, at age 72.

He was a native of Matewan in Mingo County. Both of his grandfathers had been coal miners as had his father—before becoming a barber.

In 1965, Church became a miner in Virginia and joined the United Mine Workers of America. In 1975, UMWA President Arnold Miller named Church to his staff. Church was elected vice-president of the UMWA in 1977 and moved into the presidency in 1979 following Miller’s resignation.

Mine Wars Museum
W.Va. Mine Wars Museum

The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is offering a screening of a new documentary for public television about miners in southern West Virginia and their fight for civil liberties.

The film, "The Mine Wars," will be shown at a May Day event that begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at the United Mine Workers of America Local 1440 Union Hall on Mate Street in downtown Matewan. Also featured will be snacks and musical performances.

A clean-up off the Tug River, dubbed the Matewan River Sweep, kicks of this week.

The Williamson Daily News reports the event will take place June 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Organizers hope to remove trash, debris and a minimum of 1,300 tires from the Tug River between Matewan and Buskirk, Kentucky.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This past weekend, over 500 people visited Matewan, West Virginia- to catch a glimpse of a brand new museum that tells the story of a dark and bloody time in West Virginia’s labor history. 

Coal miners were fighting for the right to organize--and to stop the practice of using mine guards. They also wanted an alternative to shopping at coal company stores and being paid in scrip, instead of money. In the early 1900’s, miners led a series of strikes in southern West Virginia, leading up to the climatic march on Blair Mountain in 1921.

Credit Courtesy Of WV State Archives (WVSA), Coal Life Collection

This past weekend, over 500 people visited Matewan, West Virginia to catch a glimpse of a new museum that tells the story of a dark and bloody time in West Virginia’s labor history.

Turn This Town Around to Help Two New Towns

Dec 5, 2014

Turn This Town Around 2015 voting is underway. The contest picks two towns in the state helps revitalize them through facilitated projects and planning.

Turn This Town Around is joint focus of the West Virginia Community Development Hub, West Virginia Focus and West Virginia Public Broadcasting. The goal is to help towns in the state turn things around and once again become vibrant communities.

After focusing on Grafton and Matewan in 2014, the groups have once again opened up voting to select two new towns for 2015.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller will get a school named after him at West Virginia University.   And we’ll have an update about how the community of Matewan is turning their town around.

Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

“Turn This Town Around” is a project in which two communities, Matewan and Grafton have been selected to receive training, coaching and technical assistant to help revitalize their communities.

Wilma Lee Steele is on the board for the Mine Wars Museum in Matewan. They held an open house over the week where the public was able to come and vote on the color of carpet and how the museum will present the town’s history.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, doctors, nurses and consumers have announced a major health care quality improvement campaign.  It involves limiting medical procedures with questionable value. Also, AmeriCorps celebrates its 20th anniversary in West Virginia.

Turn This Town Around Awards Grants

Sep 11, 2014
Clark Davis

“Turn This Town Around” is a project in which two West Virginia communities- Matewan and Grafton - have been selected to receive training, coaching, and technical assistance to help residents revitalize their communities.  Wednesday night members of Turn This Town Around Matewan found out which of their ideas will receive funding.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Ashton Marra reports on the preliminary findings from federal investigators about the January chemical spill that contaminated drinking water in nine counties.  In Pennsylvania, residents in one town believe gas drilling is contaminating their drinking water.  Clark Davis reports from Matewan as residents work to turn their town around and you'll want to try yoga after young Ian Gardner in Hinton tells you all about it.

Matewan Striving for Revitalization

Jul 17, 2014
West Virginia Focus

This is part of our continuing series on how the towns of Grafton and Matewan are turning themselves around through a special collaborative project between West Virginia Public Broadcasting, West Virginia Focus magazine and the West Virginia Community Development Hub. 

Members of the Matewan community took part yesterday in the latest meeting about ideas to turn things around in the southern West Virginia City.