TEXT/PHOTOS BY M.L. RAMSBURG
One of the hallmark staples of a political, social or environmental movement that calls for the gathering of any amount of people in this democracy of ours is the tried and true position sign. The March on Blair Mountain is no different. Banded with a similar ideology, Blair marchers have reduced their messages to micro sizes, attaching words with art to form symbols of their values. A fancy, artful, tangible tweet to the world, if you will.
The messages of the signs are simple, for the most part. Short, and to the point. “I love coal.” “Save Blair Mountain.” “Abolish mountaintop removal.” The information is clear, thoughtful, easy to decipher. The signs speak for themselves.
The marchers aren’t the only ones with the signs, of course. The opposition has their own, too. Just as their stranger/enemies, they know that to catch the attention of others — the media, say, or the passer-by — they need to be brief, catchy, to the point. “Coal keeps your lights on.” “No coal= No electric.” “Friends of coal.”
Still, I would argue that it’s not always the sign’s catchy design, or simple words, that is so easily understood. Sometimes, the messages are better left hidden, wordless, yet blaring loud all the same. Sometimes, you see, it’s the sign with no words that sends the loudest message.