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The new battle over Blair Mountain -- with lawyers instead of guns
The new battle over Blair Mountain -- with lawyers instead of guns

In late August 1921, long-running tensions between pro-union miners and anti-union West Virginia coal operators erupted into an armed confrontation totaling well over 10,000 men, a mess of bullets and a still-unconfirmed number of dead and wounded during five days of gunfighting at a spot called Blair Mountain. It was, in terms of people involved, the largest violent showdown between capital and labor in U.S. history. If American labor had holy sites, Blair Mountain would be among them (as would Ludlow, Colo.,  scene of the infamous 1914 Ludlow Massacre, part of a coal strike that involved some of the same actors in the West Virginia coal battles). But coal mining is still done in...

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