The Mine Wars

The Mine Wars or rather the “West Virginia coal wars” arose from a dispute between coal companies and the miners themselves. The first workers strike took place in 1912, with the help of Mary “Mother” Jones, an important figure in unionizing the mine workers simply demanded better pay, better overall working conditions, the right to trade where they wanted and the recognition of the United Mine Workers union (UMW).

The mining companies were not pleased with these demands and refused to accept them, they even went as far as hiring Baldwin-Felts Agents, these were a type of aggressive security which used high-powered rifles to protect the mines and break up any strikes. Upon the arrival of these agents the miners were evicted from from the houses they had been renting from the coal companies and moved into coal camps supported by the union.

Approximately 35,000 people lived in these coal camps and after about a month the Baldwin-Felts Agents began to become hostile, provoking the miners. This resulted in the union supplying the miners with weapons; 6 machine guns, 1,000 high powered rifles and 50,000 rounds of ammunition.

This film takes us inside the miners struggle for dignity at the dawn of the 20th century, revealing the largest insurrection since the Civil War and turned parts of West Virginia into a bloody war zone.

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  1. I agree with olie . ..a well done documentary. ..and a fascinating and compelling look at injustices that still resonate today in many ways, between the working class and ‘bosses’.

  2. A fascinating look at a piece of history that resonates now in that the “little people” are facing similar injustices perpetrated by the same “Bosses” that the miners faced during the coal wars.It seems that not much changes regarding the plight of the working class.On a brighter note: the footage shown is absolutely compelling. Congratulations to the people associated with this gem!