Hatfield’s devastating victory ended the climate of fear maintained by the Baldwin-Felts agents and thousands of miners flooded into the union. They hid in the hills and sniped at individual guards, and squads of miners attacked companies of Baldwin-Felts men. Writing 50 years later, Art Shields, a socialist journalist who had reported the march on Logan County, summed up ‘the biggest armed struggle in US labour history’:. According to Corbin, by early September:. The strikers are evicted from their company houses and establish a colony outside the town of Matewan. Danny delivers to Bill’s room some clean clothes.
First Sid Hatfield was offered bribes to allow the agency to establish a guard post equipped with machine guns in the town and then on 19 May the attempt was made to kill him. Kenehan was laughing and having a high ol’ time showing the letter to all the guys. National action by the UMW and solidarity action from other unions could still have won the day. And in having Joe question violence, pacifism is also questioned. At the end of the s the Morgan Trust built a new rail network to open up the West Virginia coalfield. It broke out all over.
Instead Kenehan challenges the racism of the white miners and succeeds in persuading them to accept the appeal maseacre working class solidarity made by the black miners who were unaware that a strike was in progress and make it clear that they are not scabs. Alex Summaty, a black miner who had been one of the first men in Mingo to join the union, was singled out and summarily executed.
The UMW helped the striking miners by setting up tent colonies for homeless miner families thrown out by the coal bosses.
The Baldwins caught the sheriff alone and shot him 14 times. Bernstein, Turbulent Years Boston Those who fought him could face almost sure expulsion from the union. In one successful protest,UMWA went on strike nationwide insecuring higher wages and better working conditions. When the conflict concluded, hundreds of miners were indicted for murder, and more than a dozen were charged with treason.
He was finally released in Januaryreturning to San Francisco at the head of a celebratory parade and going on to address a rally of 25, people. Eric Foner describes the film as follows in Past Imperfect: How many men were killed in the march on Logan and the battle for Blair Mountain is not known.
What of the threat of the non-union fields? The coffin of one Baldwin-Felts man was decorated with the sign: Livelyan agent provocateur for the coal company who has infiltrated the uniontries to goad the miners towards violence, which Kenehan says will only weaken their cause.
Despite blanket court injunctions that made union activity masssacre, the murderous activities of the Baldwin-Felts agents, the proclamation of martial law, intervention by the National Guard, mass arrests, the suppression of the socialist press and an attempted sell out by UMW officials, the miners emerged victorious. Danny Radnor tells he’s mother that they dummary it: During World War I, coal production boomed and the federal government established price and wage controls over the industry.
Lewis’s betrayal of the strike was to condemn the UMW to fight a losing war of attrition throughout the s as the unorganised fields succeeded in undermining the organised. It’s just Bill and Griggs at the table with Mrs.
The battle lasted three days and left at least 20 men dead. Meanwhile, Sephus has made his way back to town and informed the others of Lively’s betrayal, furiously burning down his restaurant. Joe comes up to Bridey Mae. In Alabama the mine owners refused to implement the commission awards and instead imposed wage cuts.
What turned the tide was the intervention of the federal government and the arrival of troops and bomber aircraft to crush the miners’ army at Blair Mountain. Brier goes maatewan to criticise the film for neglecting the aftermath of the Matewan episode, for not having more to say about the march on Logan County and the battle for Blair Mountain. Click to email this to a friend Opens in sjmmary window Click to share on Pinterest Opens in new window Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window.
When the guards awoke and began preparing breakfast, the miners opened mateewan, killing 13 to 15 of them On 20 April company guards and state militia attacked a union tent colony at Ludlow, killing three matewam and 13 women and children. What followed had the character of an armed insurgency as much as of a strike.
This threat had been, at least to some extent, lifted by the wartime demand for coal. They will have to go into the capital, Charleston, West Virginia to get a writ from the judge there. A number of US video chains refused to carry Matewan. The West Virginia government asked for federal troops, but the shooting ended and the shooters melted away.
His best novel is the outstanding Union Duesfirst published inbut more recently he has published a controversial anti-Castro novel, Los Gusanos The United Mine Workers were going through heavy times then.
Few Clothes tells Kenehan he is there to guard him when he comments on the gun the black miner has. This becomes a big standoff until Danny gets up and leaves the table to go to msasacre room. But the audience never learns who hires the gun thugs and for what reasons They may be playing Social-Realist icons, but each manages to make something personal and idiosyncratic out of the material, without destroying the ballad-like style.
Matewan () – Plot Summary – IMDb
Bill says that Felts has given them funds to help the sheriff and mayor cooperate with the company. They massqcre took control of the area from south of Charleston up to the mountain range surrounding Logan and Mingo Counties. Chafin even emptied the jails, setting free those prisoners prepared to fight the union. Some of the worst violence came from the Baldwin-Felts detectives who actually were professional strikebreakers.
American Experience | The Mine Wars
Bill gets very mad and Joe warns him that if he shoots him, folks will know Bill murdered him. This flow of cheap non-union coal put the Central Competitive Field agreement under continual pressure. Keeney was determined that this should not happen and threatened to extend the strike throughout the whole West Virginia coalfield if the troops were not withdrawn. If storytelling has a positive function it’s to put us in touch with other people’s lives, to help us connect and draw strength or knowledge from people we’ll never meet, to help us see beyond our own experience.
They say that the miners have taken a lot of items into their camp that actually belong to the company. Victory was snatched away on 14 September when the governor declared martial law and sent troops in to occupy Mingo. His film was not a documentary but is best regarded as a powerful fictional celebration of working class struggle and solidarity that made dramatic use of the historic Matewan episode.
The Baldwin—Felts men then turn their attention on the strikers’ camp outside town, where the miners and their families are living in tents. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Also on the train are black miners being brought in as strikebreakers and Kenehan watches as they are physically attacked by the strikers. It is highly appropriate, dealing as it does with a cab drivers’ strike.
It focuses on the rank and file experience of the strike with the intention of inspiring similar solidarity and courage among the working class today. While Sayles makes violence the issue around which the film is structured, the actual events in West Virginia reveal a different lesson.