According to The Associated Press, as the marchers started down the street, State Police troopers told them not to display signs urging motorists to slow down. Such signs, the troopers said, can only be used by law enforcement and the Division of Highways. They also warned the group to march single-file when they got beyond city limits.
"Today, you will march into the pages of history," Kenney told marchers.
Ellie Smith, from Australia, decided to come to West Virginia and participate in the march after reading about the Blair Mountain March on Facebook.
"I have been interested in mountaintop removal mining for three years. I have studied its history and the present threat to Blair Mountain."
Smith became interested in coal issues in Queensland, in northeastern Australia, where she lives.
"We are the biggest coal exporter in the world - 80 percent of our coal is exported," Smith said. "We are working to stop the expansion of the coal industry at home."
Most Australian mines are huge "open pit mines," like those in Wyoming, isolated from most of the population, she said.
"I am astounded by the human impact of the coal industry here," Smith said.
In March 2009, Blair Mountain was briefly placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nine months later, it was removed after coal industry pressure on state agencies.
Today, several environmental groups and the UMW have a pending federal lawsuit seeking to restore Blair Mountain to the National Register.
Hundreds of more people are expected to join the march during the week.
Saturday's closing rally will feature singers Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea and Ashley Judd. Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and author Denise Giardina will be among the speakers.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.