Mtn. Talk: WV Mine Wars Museum Strike Supper
In the town of Matewan in Mingo County, West Virginia, sits a small but mighty museum. The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, preserves and interprets artifacts and historical records of the local communities affected by the West Virginia Mine Wars. The Mine Wars are known as the largest insurrection in U.S. history outside the Civil War, but stories from this period of radical labor organizing can still be hard to find.
In September of 2018 the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum hosted a Strike Supper. Their goals were: to bring people in the museum doors to learn more about the history, and, to work towards busting the myth of a culturally and racially homogenous Appalachia. They did this through an exploration and celebration of the diverse cultural histories of Southern WV through food. Folks from near and far gathered to share dishes from the region; and while they shared food, they also shared stories of personal family histories, immigration to and from the area in the 1900s, and the rich cultural legacies of the Southern Appalachian coalfields.
In this episode you’ll hear interviews with attendees and organizers of the event, the presentation of the Red Bandana Awards to important people working for justice in southern West Virginia, and lots of stories of food.
Music on this episode features Si Kahn with a tune called “Brookside Strike” from his album New Wood, recorded on Appalshop’s own June Appal Records in 1994. Special thanks to Abby Huggins for recording the audio used in this piece.