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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fayetteville in Fayette County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

The Right for Safety and Equality

 

— New River Gorge National River —

 
The Right for Safety and Equality Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 25, 2021
1. The Right for Safety and Equality Marker
Inscription.  The primary goal of most coal mining companies in New River Gorge was to maximize profits and decrease costs. It was common for coal companies to put physical and social needs of their workers and families last. Safety, health, social service and collective bargaining (union) regulations were minimal to non-existent during the West Virginia coal boom from the late 1800s into the 1930s.

The fight for collective bargaining and unions resulted in a 21 year war between workers and mine owners. From 1900–1921, employees fought against private security hired by owners, resulting in the second-largest armed rebellion in U.S. history after the Civil War, the “West Virginia Mine Wars.” The battles and strikes of West Virginia miners were a key factor in the American labor movement and the formation of a vibrant, progressive and healthy American middle class.

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The expression “red necks” began when miners started wearing red bandanas around their necks to identify them as pro-union people in solidarity with the warring miners. Would you have been a “red neck”?
The Right for Safety and Equality Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 25, 2021
2. The Right for Safety and Equality Marker
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Mother Jones. Leading the miners in their fight was Mary “Mother” Jones, an Irish immigrant who worked in southern textile mill towns and lost all of her family in a yellow fever epidemic. She dedicated her later life to championing safe working conditions, fair pay and benefits for miners and other working class people.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceLabor UnionsNatural Resources.
 
Location. 38° 3.932′ N, 81° 4.769′ W. Marker is in Fayetteville, West Virginia, in Fayette County. Marker is on a day-use area parking lot near Fayette Station Road (County Route 82). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fayetteville WV 25840, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Working In a Coal Mine (a few steps from this marker); Natural Renewal (within shouting distance of this marker); Enduring Beauty (within shouting distance of this marker); A Tale of Two Towns (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Vital Link (about 700 feet away); Growth of an Era (approx. 0.3 miles away); Spanning the Gorge (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fayetteville.
 
More about this marker. This interpretive panel is illustrated with an image of coal; an uncaptioned panoramic photograph of coal miners wearing their hats and lanterns posing for the camera, with lunch buckets all around; a photograph of Mother Jones; and an image of a red bandana.
 
Working In a Coal Mine, left, and The Right for Safety and Equality, right image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 25, 2021
3. Working In a Coal Mine, left, and The Right for Safety and Equality, right
The two historical interpretive panels flank an informational panel about the New River Gorge National River Fayette Station day use area.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 14, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 14, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Nov. 29, 2021