See full roundup on Ken Ward’s Coal Tattoo
From the media world, folks who are active on Twitter or Facebook may have seen mentions around this week about a project called “Hollow: An Interactive Documentary,” which its developers describe as:
… A hybrid community participatory project and interactive documentary where content is created “for the community, by the community.” The project combines personal documentary video portraits, user-generated content, photography, soundscapes, interactive data and grassroots mapping on an HTML5 website designed to discuss the many stereotypes associated with the area, population loss and potential for the future. Members of the community will take part in the filmmaking process by creating 20 of the 50 short documentaries in efforts to build engagement and social trust and empower the community to work together for a better future.
They also say:
The project leaders of Hollow believe that the voices of West Virginia have not been heard. Over the years, media has portrayed the people of Appalachia as one-dimensional characters in issue-driven films about coal mining and drug abuse. Films about our homestate have not given residents a chance to speak but have instead used them to fit their categories of “hillbilly,” “poor Appalachian,” “ignorant coal miners,” or “environmentalist.” This community participatory project has great potential to become a place where the community can have a voice and share ideas for the future. We hope that this interactive model can encourage trust among the community and empower them to work together for change. Hollow’s documentary portraits and user-generated content will provide a multidimensional viewpoint, highlighting the ingenuity and spirit that keeps the community fighting.
The project team is currently trying to raise funding through Kickstarter. I’m curious what role coal’s past, present and future is going to play in this particular project, and I may write some more about it after I get to talk more with project leader Elaine McMillion.
At approximately 3 p.m. two years ago today the lives of 29 coal miners were snuffed out in a massive explosion that roared underground along the Raleigh-Boone county line.
Until that day, other than the miners, their families, and some others in the coal industry, most of us had never even heard of the Upper Big Branch mine at Montcoal.
That all changed when something ignited an abundance of methane gas, that in turn mixed with coal dust and created the lethal blast. As we would come to learn just a few days later, the end result would be the worst coal mining disaster in our country since the 1970s.
Time seemed to stand still for nearly a week in southern West Virginia as hundreds worked furiously to try to determine if any of those miners still unaccounted for could have survived. By Saturday the hope turned to heartache.
The past 24 months have certainly allowed the wounds to somewhat mend, but the hurt and the memories, the bitterness, will always remain in some fashion for all those left behind.
Family members, friends, other miners from UBB, the community in general — all are still coping in various ways, some faring better than others.
And while the healing is continuing, many still want answers and accountability.
That process, too, has started but is nowhere near completion.
So today we pay tribute to those 29 brave souls. We remember their sacrifice, and we urge those in charge to make sure every single person who was responsible for this horrific event, in any way, faces punishment.
It’s the least we must do and its the precursor to setting the tone so that something so tragic as this never happens again.
Photos by Craig Cunningham/Daily Mail
Front page of the Charleston Daily Mail today after flash flooding in Southern West Virginia.
I spent the largest portion of my childhood growing up in Logan and attended grade school and middle school in the county. It still has a very special place in my heart and hate to see this extreme flooding and devastation.
Climb aboard and journey through the Appalachians with a thoughtful, irreverent, smart, opinionated and humorous student of life. See the world through her eyes with wonder and delight. Whether talking about her upbringing, her family, or the many places and people she has seen along way, you can’t help but want to move with her from one story to another.