Monday, February 20, 2012

This is a Test

This is a test of the Glass Family Blog system. The results of this test are intended to discover if the blog is dead or merely comatose. So... I have been studying Adam Smith and Karl Marx's treatises for Western Civ, and have been quite the agitator on our class discussion board which started out overwhelmingly free market purist capitalist.

Watching the comments on the board has given me hope though. I persisted in bringing up history, talking about current events and asking questions. After several days of this, lots of people are starting to come around to the idea that what we have is not capitalism purely, but a mixed system. And for many the idea is there that maybe some socialism is a good thing (Gasp, maybe even more than we currently have--scandalous!) Well either I have persuaded people to think, or we have a new bandwagon effect starting in the class--if that's the case---I should be despairing.

At any rate, among many other things, I brought up WV coal history and company towns. Which got me thinking about Matewan and CC.

Several things here: 1. Have you seen the movie Matewan? ( Sorry, the only place I could find a current copy was on torrent.

If not, you should.

My summary: C.C. Gillespie, was a West Virginia coal miner at this time and I remember Mama Roxie (his wife) telling us of their part in this history. So basically the events this movie portrays are part of our recent family history.

The movie is very accurate--even down to the names of characters involved. Only major deviations from history--the union leader from outside the county and the preacher boy are fictitious characters added to carry the plot smoothly and child laborers are not shown. Also, while the largest conflagration was in Mingo and Logan counties, this was not an isolated event.

2. This is my recollection of what Mama Roxie told us when I was young. Now.... this was years ago, so I may have some details wrong. The story should be included in the Gillespie Family History that Grandma gave everyone. Homework: How does my memory of an oral telling in the 1970's match with Grandma Mary's account based on notes taken at the time?

C.C. started working as a minor as a six year old orphan (circa 1905). By the time of this movie he was in his early twenties. They lived in Bull Push Hollow (not near Matewan) He supported the miner cause but did not take up arms. He was at the mines the first day that violence broke out. Word went back to the women by word of mouth only--and Mama Roxie wasn't sure if he was alive or had been killed. Since his mine was under siege by company men, he and his fellow workers loaded coal cars with themselves inside and let them down the rails as quickly as they could to get out safely under fire. Grandma Mag and Aunt Arietta used to sing the song Daddy Don't Go to the Mines Today every day when he went to work. He eventually was able to gain safer employment as a trolley worker, then a county clerk/deputy (an elected official at the time--Democrat), and finally went to barber school and cut hair for the rest of his life. The only cut I could ever get at the shop was a buzz cut--no matter what I asked for.

This side of the family was raised with C.C.'s ideas about race: It doesn't matter what color someone is. Everyone's black in the mines.

History for before or after the movie:

3. I'll take the amount of response to that as indicative of the pulse (or lack thereof) of our blog. :)

1 comment:

  1. ___/\_____/\_____/\_____/\_____/\____

    We've got a pulse!

    In seriousness, thanks for this post.