West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Fred Barkey to Present “The Socialist Party in West Virginia” Talk in Archives Library Jan. 8, 2013


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Labor historian Fred Barkey will present ”The Socialist Party in West Virginia” on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, in the Archives and History library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The program will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The first local branch of the West Virginia Socialist Party was established in Wheeling in 1901 and by 1914 several thousand West Virginians were dues-paying members of local branches. By 1910 local Socialists began to elect candidates to office and more than 15,000 West Virginia voters cast their ballots for Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs in 1912.

The progress achieved on the electoral front was a reflection of the party’s strategy of increasing class-consciousness by working with unions to build the power of the labor movement. Socialists were prominent in several craft trades including glass- and cigar-making, and proved popular with coal miners as the party was an important factor in the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912-13.

For his doctoral research, Barkey examined the rise of the Socialist Party in West Virginia at the end of the 19th century through its decline before and during World War I. Barkey received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marshall University and his Ph.D. in history with a concentration in United States labor history from the University of Pittsburgh. He is professor emeritus at West Virginia Graduate College and also taught history at the University of Charleston and the Institute for Labor Studies at West Virginia University. Barkey is the author of Cinder Heads in the Hills: The Belgian Window Glass Workers of West Virginia (1988) and Working Class Radicals: The Socialist Party in West Virginia, 1898-1920 (2012).

On Jan. 8, 2013, the library will close at 5 p.m., and reopen at 5:45 p.m. For planning purposes, participants are encouraged to register for the lecture, but advance registration is not required to attend. To register in advance, contact Bryan Ward, assistant director of archives and history, by e-mail at bryan.e.ward@wv.gov or at (304) 558-0230, ext. 723.”

Participants interested in registering by e-mail should send their name, telephone number and the name and date of the session. For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.



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