Liz McCormick Published

W.Va. Mine Wars Class Offered to Teachers


The West Virginia Mine Wars is a period of our state’s history that until around the 1980s was often censored or left out in classrooms across the state. But a new class through Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning Program will offer tools for history teachers in West Virginia and beyond.

Coal Country Tours is a company that hosts individuals on trips to southern West Virginia. The history of the mine wars is something owner and tour guide, Doug Estepp covers during the trips.

Starting next academic semester, Estepp will get the word out to even more folks with a class through Shepherd University.

“I grew up in Mingo County in a family of coal miners,” Estepp said, “My family didn’t talk about it; my grandfather didn’t talk about it, they would just kind of brush it off when I would see little hints, I would see stories about tent colonies and strikes, and they just didn’t want to talk about it, and people, that was kind of the way people reacted all around the state.”

Estepp’s class is designed for teachers to learn about the mine wars and get the tools they need to bring the stories into the West Virginia History class.

Quick Facts on 2016 W.Va. Mine Wars Class:

  • Class begins on January 12, 2016
  • Any teacher in or out of state may sign-up at any time before the class begins
  • Classes are held at the Shepherd University Martinsburg campus and online simultaneously.
  • The cost of the class is $147 (through Shepherd University)
  • There is a two-day tour component that is a requirement of the class.
  • The cost for the tour is $340 per person double occupancy, $379 single. Cost covers transportation, lodging, meals, and all admissions and tours.
  • The dates for the tour are April 23-24, 2016. Teachers may join the tour either in Shepherdstown or at Tamarack in Beckley.
  • Awards 3 credit hours toward professional development requirements
  • The class is not open to regular students

Estepp says there will be projects and reading assignments for the class, and the first assignment will be to watch, “The Mine Wars” on PBS’ American Experience, which premieres the same day as the first class.