The Mine Wars, otherwise known as the “West Virginia coal wars,” is a compelling story of struggle and perseverance. The workers strike began in 1912, led by Mary “Mother” Jones, an important figure in unionizing the mine workers. With her help, the miners sought better pay, improved working conditions, the right to choose where they wanted to trade and the recognition of the United Mine Workers union (UMW).
The mining companies were unwilling to accept these demands and took drastic measures to put an end to any strikes – they hired Baldwin-Felts Agents. These agents utilized high-powered rifles as a means of security for their mines. As soon as they arrived onsite, they evicted all miners from the houses that were rented from coal companies and relocated them into coal camps supported by the UMW.
Approximately 35,000 people lived in these coal camps at the time. After about a month had passed under their supervision, Baldwin-Felts Agents became increasingly hostile towards miners. This prompted the UMW to equip miners with weapons; 6 machine guns, 1,000 high powered rifles and 50,000 rounds of ammunition – turning parts of West Virginia into a warzone.
Experience this gripping history firsthand by watching ‘The Mine Wars’ documentary! It takes you through an incredible journey inside miners’ struggles for dignity at the start of 20th century; showcasing one of America’s largest uprisings since Civil War. You’ll gain insight into how it felt for those living under such oppressive conditions and walk away with a newfound appreciation for those who fought hard for what we have today.