Martyr Made Labor History Podcast: Whose America?
According to Darryl Cooper, he’s not an historian. He is, however, curious, passionate and open minded. He also appears to be a glutton for punishment in the form of research at sheer unimaginable volumes. Don’t believe it? Darryl Cooper’s podcasts are long form. Perhaps that should be LONG form… But damn are they good!
It’s hard to say what was going on in his mind when he decided to create a series of lectures on Labor history in the United States. It’s a daunting process, as many Fellow Workers know, trying to sort out the facts from the bullshit. What really went down between the IWW and the authorities? Why didn’t anyone tell us about this in school? Is this why my coal mining grandfather routinely cursed the public school system when he reminded us that our religion was “the union”?
Labor History as Real Life
Some characters in this story will be familiar, but Cooper has gone out of his way to string together the histories of workers, politicians, wives, children, migrants and law enforcers so that we might get to know them as people, rather than mentions in the stories of the famous organizers. He’s stated this is a story near to his heart and it’s easy to tell which side Mr. Cooper is on. As with all his subjects, however, he presents as many facts as possible.
Please enjoy the first two episodes of Whose America. We will be updating these as they are released. You can find Mr. Cooper at https://martyrmade.com/ and https://martyrmade.substack.com/. The podcast can also be found on most podcast apps & feeds. We hope to interview him soon regarding this project and the future of the IWW.
Whose America: Prologue
In August 1921, 10,000-20,000 armed coal miners marched on Mingo County, West Virginia to lift the martial law imposed there, free their jailed brethren, and avenge the assassination of one of their local heroes. At least 20,000 more wives, young boys and other civilians followed the army providing medical, logistical and other services. Before it was over, they would storm a mountainside under fire from entrenched machine guns, and while being bombed from the air. It was the largest and most serious armed insurrection in US history since the Civil War. This episode is going to discuss the West Virginia Coal Mine Wars, and The Battle of Blair Mountain.