Local volunteers and historians are opening a museum in Matewan dedicated to telling the untold and often-overlooked stories of coal miners’ long and bloody fight for labor rights.The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is to open Saturday, May 16, with a grand opening celebration at 1 p.m. Charles “Chuck” Keeney, a history teacher in Logan and member of the museum’s board of directors, said the museum is a collection of artifacts and stories from the early 20th century labor uprising that has mostly been passed down informally from generation to generation.“There’s not a whole lot of emphasis on the history of what coal miners did and the struggles they went through and the tumultuous time,” Keeney said. “The Battle of Matewan has all the elements of a classic Western shootout, yet while something like the Gunfight at O.K. Corral has become a part of American lore, Matewan has languished in obscurity for a number of generations. We’re promoting this regional history that has been overlooked.”The May 19, 1920, Battle of Matewan, also known as the “Matewan Massacre,” broke out in front of the Chambers Hardware building — the current-day home of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum at 336 Mate Street.Lou Martin, associate professor of history at Chatham University in Pittsburgh and a member of the museum’s board of directors, said bullet holes from the shootout are still present in the brickwork of the current-day Mine Wars Museum. In fact, Martin said Matewan police chief Sid Hatfield and his deputies may have met in the back of the hardware store just before the shootout.

Source: Charleston Daily Mail- see full article