By Nancy Peyton
January 4, 2023 - The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum recently announced the 2022 recipients of its annual Red Bandana Awards.
“At the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, we celebrate the symbol of the red bandana,” a statement from the museum said. “A piece of cloth given to miners to cover wounds, the bandana was taken up by striking miners during the Mine Wars as a marker of ‘the Redneck Army’ during the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain. To those of us that celebrate this heritage, the symbol represents dedication, solidarity, and the courage it can take to fight for our rights as Americans and as citizens of the world.”
The museum began an awards ceremony in 2018 to honor local Appalachians who embody the spirit of this symbol, and now, the Red Bandana Awards have become a proud tradition at the museum.
The Carter G. Woodson Truth Teller Award is for those whose work uncovers, documents, analyzes, preserves and/or disseminates significant aspects of the history of labor activism in the state, particularly the southern West Virginia mine wars. Carter Woodson, who worked briefly in West Virginia’s coal mines and later taught at Berea College, is known as the “Father of Black History.”
This year’s Woodson Truth Teller Award goes to Crystal Good.
“Brilliant poet, activist, organizer, founder of Black By God, The West Virginian, and bringer of light into any space she may be, there was no better choice to receive the Truth Teller Award than true-to-her-bones Crystal Good,” the museum said in a release. “Crystal, we thank you for your movements made to telling the truth of, and being a catalyst for Black Appalachians.”
This year’s Hazel Dickens Art Maker award is presented to Tom Breiding.
“Being a West Virginia native himself, Tom has proven himself a staunch supporter of the UMWA — telling these stories of sacrifice and struggles of mine workers and their families within his music,” the museum said in a release. “Breiding often shows up for any and all UMWA rallies, and performed at our #CourageintheHollers monument unveiling in Clothier over this Labor Day Weekend.”
This year’s Mother Jones Hellraiser award is presented to Katey Lauer.
“Through her activism, organizing, passion, and pure grit, Katey was the inevitable choice to receive this years Hellraiser award,” the museum said in a release. “As well as being a driving force in the March on Blair Mountain of 2011, Katey is also one of the original founders of our people’s history museum, and served as our Director for several years.”
Lauer’s recent work includes co-chairing West Virginia Can’t Wait.
HD Media reporter Nancy Peyton primarily covers news in Mingo County.