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The Mine Wars | Image Gallery

West Virginia Mining

In the first two decades of the 20th century, coal miners and coal companies in West Virginia clashed in a series of brutal conflicts over labor conditions and unionization that resulted in the "Mine Wars." The United Mine Workers of America had successfully recruited coal miners from Pennsylvania to Illinois and had established itself as one of the strongest unions in the nation. West Virginia coal operators, however, were notoriously violent towards workers' efforts to organize. The struggle for unionization included strikes, assassinations, marches, and the largest civil insurrection in the United States since the Civil War. Browse a photo gallery to see what it was like to work in the mines and live in these communities.

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