Mudcat Café message #2654506 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #101515   Message #2654506
Posted By: Janie
11-Jun-09 - 09:44 PM
Thread Name: King Coal Dumping on Jean Ritchie and ALL OF US!
Subject: RE: King Coal Dumping on Jean Ritchie and ALL OF U
The Story with Dick Gordon on NPR broadcast an interview today with Maria Gunnoe who just won a Goldman Environmental Prize for her work trying to stop or control mountaintop removal. Maria lives in Boone Co., WV on the place she was born and raised. Her land was devastated by flooding as the result of mountaintop removal. She has encountered fierce and sometimes violent opposition in her community from miners, but has not backed down. She is from a coal mining family.

In one of the most poignant parts of the interview, she repeats a conversation with her Grandfather, who called her Sissie, as he sat and watched out the bay window as his own homeplace was buried by a mountain turned upside down into the valley. I'll put it in quotes, though I may be off a word or two. "Sissie, there is something wrong here. There is more coal coming out of here than there ever has been, and there are fewer men mining than there ever has been." She says he died a brokenhearted man.

The interview can be heard at A Fight for the MountainTops.

As most of ya'll know, I was born and raised in West Virginia and a big part of my own identity is bound up in those hills and hollers. I was moved to tears as she shared what drives her to advocacy in the face of significant opposition from some (but certainly not all) of the people she grew up with. Her sense that who she is grounded in those ancient hills.


If you ever get a chance, also see In Memory of the Land and the People. This is a documentary film done by old friend of mine, Bob Gates, in the early 70's. It focused on strip mining in West Virginia and Kentucky.

'Spaw, I'd love to see you get around to that long post you talked about writing up thread.