A new state holiday honoring the contribution of coal miners will be celebrated Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the West Virginia University Mountainlair.
Following an online grassroots petition earlier this year, the state Legislature adopted a bill designating Dec. 6 as an annual Miners Day to celebrate minersaccomplishments and sacrifices in the state.
To recognize coal minerscontributions, WVU Student Affairs will offer a program calledThe Coal Miners Storyat 7 p.m. in theLair Gluck Theatre.
Fred Powers, of Bluefield, will tell his story of growing up in a coal mining community and the experiences he encountered in his 20 years working underground.
Powers and his two grandchildren, Aaron and Amanda Prevento, participated with the History Channel in filming the documentaryThe Coal Miners Wars,which will be released in late spring 2007.
The documentary details the Matewan Massacre, the murder of Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers in Welch and the Battle of Blair Mountain.
Powers, now a school teacher, hopes to convey an understanding of coal mining through his experiences. He adds in his biography that hisexperiences are only a small reflection of many untold stories of the coal miner.
Powers also has played a variety of minor roles in the coalfield dramaTerror of the Tubwritten by playwright and West Virginia native Jean Battlo. The drama, based on the Hatfield-Chambers murders, has played in various theaters across the state.
In addition to Powerspresentation, the 2006 Mountaineer Idol Kasey Hott and runners-up Karrah Smith and Justin Johnson will be on hand to singCountry Roadsto pay tribute to the state of West Virginia.
Mistress of ceremonies for the event will be Kristin House, graduate assistant for Mountainlair building operations.
WVU Press will showcase and sell its new music compact discCoal Digging Blues: Songs of West Virginia Miners.
For more information on the Mountainlair activities, contact Sonja Wilson at 304-293-2702. More information on Miners Day is available at:minersday.org