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The West Virginia Humanities Council and WVPB created this series to present important people, places, and events in Mountain State history.

September 28, 1955: Labor Activist Mother Blizzard Dies

Sarah "Mother" Blizzard
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Labor activist Sarah “Mother” Blizzard died on September 28, 1955, at age 90. She spent her early years on her family’s farm in Fayette County.

She, her husband, and her children were actively involved in the United Mine Workers of America union from its earliest days. After her support for the 1902 coal strike led to the Blizzards’ eviction from their home, they moved to Cabin Creek in Kanawha County. During the violent Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike of 1912, “Mother” Blizzard allowed striking miners to camp on her land and joined forces with famed labor leader “Mother” Jones, to whom she was often compared. 

“Mother” Blizzard and “Mother” Jones once participated in a march where they supposedly struck policemen with their umbrellas. “Mother” Blizzard also organized a group of women to block the Bull Moose Special from launching a second attack on a tent colony of miners. The Bull Moose was a special armored train coal operators used during the strike.

“Mother” Blizzard, as she was affectionately known, was the actual mother of UMWA District 17 President Bill Blizzard and great-grandmother of current UMWA President Cecil Roberts. 

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