Author Date

1995-11-10

Degree Name

BA

Department

History

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date

2020-03-05

Publication Date

2020-03-16

First Faculty Advisor

Shawn Miller

First Faculty Reader

Christopher Hodson

Honors Coordinator

Aaron Skabelund

Keywords

Memory, Mine Wars, Forgetting, West Virginia, History, Americanism

Abstract

This thesis examines the concerted effort in the West Virginia school system to forget a massive labor movement in the early 20th century. Business leaders and government leaders turned to the classroom to try and control the memory of future generations to ensure a positive perception of the coal industry and avoid any more violent confrontations. After a brief summary of the Mine Wars for context, this thesis uses textbooks to analyze how the authors omitted the conflict and instead used patriotic propaganda to create loyal citizens. Although the Mine Wars have since been included in state history textbooks, the impact of their absence in textbooks for over 50 years is undeniable. The current relationship that West Virginia has with coal stands as a testament to the power of selective memory.

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