Fred M. Powers was born in McDowell County, WV. He
tells of his raisings in a coal mining community and the vivid experiences he encountered in the twenty years he worked full
and part-time underground.
He has taught in the public schools of McDowell
and Mercer Counties for nearly twenty-five years and is a retired UMWA miner as well. He is married to his lovely wife,
Sharon, and they both teach at Bluefield Middle School. They reside in the Bluefield area. They are proud
parents of three children and four precious grandchildren.
Fred began work in the coal mines full-time
at twenty with a young family to support. He attended BXC College for several years while working in the mines and completed
his student teaching in 1981. He was laid off from the coal mines in 1983 and began to work part-time for a mining outfit
retrieving underground mine equipment out from under roof falls until 1992.
For three seasons, he has played a variety
of minor roles in the coalfield drama Terror of the Tug, written by Jean Battlo. The past two years his oldest
grandchildren were involved in the play as well.
In September 2006, Fred and two of his grandchildren
participated in the filming of the Coal Mining segment of Hillbilly: The Real Story that was broadcast on the History
Channel. The filming involved the Matewan Massacre (where ten men were killed), the Murder of Sheriff Sid Hatfield and
Deputy Ed Chambers in Welch, and the Battle of Blair Mountain (where 10,000 coal miners fought against the coal operators).
Fred currently performs his theatrical one-man
drama for various groups. His fervent hope is to convey an understanding of the coal mining incidents that he encountered
during his lifetime. His experience are only are only a small reflection of many untold stories of the coal miner in
His one-man drama, Buried Alive: A Coal
Miner's Story, has been performed across WV at many venues, including WVU's Mountaineer Week and Miner's Day celebrations.