Issue 3: June 2006



Mountian Justice Summer

Documentary cameras rolled as heart-wrenching stories met a steely resolve to organize and stop mountaintop removal mining. Several hundred participants met at this year’s Healing Mountains conference in West Virginia, organized by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Heartwood, the Coal River Mountain Watch, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and dozens of other organizations. Keynote speakers […]


Archeology Can Add Depth to Our Understanding of Blair Mountain

The following is an excerpt from a report by Harvard Ayers, Ph.D. of the Dept. of Anthropology, Appalachian State University. The area of the Battle of Blair Mountain is being nominated under category A of the National Register criteria, as it is undeniably associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad […]


Coal and timber companies on the defensive in West Virginia lawsuits

A set of bitter lawsuits has erupted around the question of who is responsible for contaminating the drinking water in Rawl, WV. and even what can be said about it. In late April, a Massey Energy subsidiary filed a libel suit against attorneys representing citizens who believe they were injured by chemicals in the water […]


Time Honored Songs of the Coal Miner's Struggle

Harlan County USA Rounder 11661-4026-2 Protest songs are a time-honored method of American political expression. From Woody Guthrie’s Depression-era union anthems up through current fare by Neil Young and the Dixie Chicks, politics and music have long intermingled. Songs serve as vehicles for stating opposition, rallying support, and spreading news in a fashion more potent […]


Blair Mountain: the forgotten civil war

To the commissioners of Jefferson County, West Virginia it looked like a slam dunk. All they wanted to do was level the 80-year old former Jefferson County jail that sits on the main street of the sleepy community of Charles Town and has not housed any creatures except rats for years. The commissioners planned […]


John Muir’s visit to Grandfather Mountain

The Mountain that Hugh Morton found so fascinating was already famous. This account of Muir’s visit, written by Hugh Morton’s son Jim, shows the family interest. On September 25, 1898, America’s most celebrated conservationist and naturalist, John Muir, visitied Grandfather Mountain. Then 60 years old, Muir was traveling with his friends, botanist Charles Sprague Sargent […]


Appalachian Festivals

It all started with a wagon in 1973. And Jimmy Neil Smith didn’t really think it would work. Smith brought Jerry Clower, the comedian, onto the stage at the Washington County Courthouse Square in Jonesborough, Tenn. But Smith also had a backup for his marquee – he hired Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys as […]


Beckley jury finds clearcutting, MTR mining caused flood damage

Mining and logging companies are responsible for flooding damage that occurred downstream of their projects in 2001, a West Virginia jury ruled in May. It is believed to be the first time in recent memory that a verdict against the coal or timber industry for damages has been returned. The flooding of July 8, 2001 […]


National Trust lists Blair Mountain Among Most Endangered Places

This April, the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Blair mountain, the West Virginia site of a 1921 labor confrontation, as one of the country’s most threatened historic places. “Past preservation efforts have failed because of fierce opposition from the coal companies that own or lease most of the ridge,” said the National Trust for […]


Remembering the Past, Working for the Future

I am a child of Appalachia, and I say that with pride. I was born and raised in a coal camp up Cabin Creek Hollow near Kayford, West Virginia. As was often the practice then, my family shared a house with my paternal grandparents. The home in which I was born is still standing; but […]


Volunteer and Intern Update

Appalachian Voices’ volunteers and interns gave hundreds of hours to protect the mountains this semester. We would like to thank them for their work and let everyone know what they accomplished! We had 48 volunteers this semester working over 600 hours working on our Clean Air Campaign, Mountaintop Removal Campaign, the Appalachian Voice, and our […]


Discovering the Underworld of Crayfish

You get a line and I’ll get a pole; We’ll all go down to the crawdad hole, Ho-ney, ba-by, mine. “The Crawdad Song,” southern American folk song Growing up in western North Carolina, I have two distinct memories related to crawdads- The Crawdad Song, a popular children’s tune sung by family members; and the […]


Lost Mountain

Riverhead Books. New York. 2006 250 pages. $24.95 The removal of entire mountain tops merely to extract coal is such a staggering idea that it’s often presented in religious metaphors – to move a mountain, after all, is an act most often associated with religious texts. The environmental devastation wreaked by mountaintop removal is so […]


Morton's Legacy Endures for Appalachia's Environment

One of Appalachcia’s most powerful voices has been silenced by cancer at age 85. Hugh Morton, a prominent North Carolina environmentalist, photographer and real estate developer, died at his home, surrouned by family, on the first of June. Known as the owner of Grandfather Mountain resort and also as a real estate developer and […]


"This is not just my Fight: it's Appalachia's Fight" - Larry Gibson

Citizens and friends of the West Virginia mountains remembered more than veterans on Memorial Day by paying their respects to the land and people. Standing with long-time mountaintop removal activist Larry Gibson near his home on Kayford Mountain in West Virginia, over 60 community members and activists traveled to the top of a mountaintop removal […]