Mingo, Matewan and the Coal Wars of West Virginia:  A Book Talk


January 11, 2024    
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Bookings closed


Hosted by national LERA, Online, via Zoom
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Mingo, Matewan and the Coal Wars of West Virginia: A Book Talk

Author Jeff Barnes

In a change from our usual programming, on January 11 we will host Jeff Barnes, author of Mingo, a recently published book of historical fiction set in the Coal Mine Wars resulting from unionization efforts in Mingo County, West Virginia in the early 20th century.

Mingo is a gold medal winner for southern fiction, set in the first two decades of the twentieth century, a time of upheaval in the southern West Virginia coalfields. Eager to unionize, miners of various races and nationalities were met with equally determined opposition by coal operators who hired the Baldwin Felts detective agency to keep the mines open and the unions out. Much of the violent struggle occurred in Mingo County, leading to the nickname ‘Bloody Mingo.’ The author will discuss his novel Mingo and explore the mine wars, along with the issues of class, race, and labor relations that continue to roil America today.  He will also consider the modern implications of a phrase in the book that has resounded with so many readers: “no matter how thin the pancake is, there’s always two sides.”

If you are interested in reading Mingo, either before or after the presentation the book is available on Amazon or other online book sellers, and can be ordered from your favorite independent bookstore.


Author Jeff Barnes

Jeff Barnes was born and raised in Tazewell, Virginia, in the heart of coal country. He lives, writes, and practices law in Richmond.  Mingo was inspired by his childhood fascination with the 1919 Matewan Massacre that occurred during the Coal Mine Wars and stories his father told of growing up in Pocahontas, Virginia in the 1920’s with friends who were first generation Americans of Hungarian and Italian descent.


Professor Ann Hodges

Ann C. Hodges

Ann Hodges, J.D., is professor of law emerita at the University of Richmond, where she twice won the university’s distinguished educator award. Her teaching and research focuses on labor and employment law, feminist legal theory and nonprofit organizations. Hodges is co-author of two books, “Public Sector Employment” and “Principles of Employment Law,” and has published numerous articles and book chapters. She is a member of the Labor Law Group, which develops labor and employment law teaching materials for students, and was elected to membership in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  Professor Hodges also serves as the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies paralegal studies program chair and a visiting professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. Professor Hodges serves as the editor of the LERA Law Newsletter and president of the LERA Virginia Chapter.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Richmond, Hodges practiced labor and employment law in Chicago, representing labor unions and employees in both public and private sectors. She also worked as a field examiner with the National Labor Relations Board. Her practice included traditional labor law, employment discrimination, wage and hour law, and employee benefits. She represented unions in organizing campaigns, unfair labor practice cases, collective bargaining and labor arbitration, handling cases in federal and state courts and administrative proceedings.

Become a Member!

You are invited to become a member of the LERA Virginia Chapter at http://lerachapter.org/virginia/membership-account/membership-levels/.


This event will take place virtually via Zoom. The link to join will be sent to you upon registration.

Registration and Pricing

This event is free for members and non-members alike, compliments of Virginia LERA! Even though registration is free, we do ask that your register for the event below to reserve your seat.



Bookings are closed for this event.