Digital Story Title:Investigating History: Finding Matewan
This story examines the Matewan Massacre as depicted in the John Sayles’ film “Matewan” in 1987. Whether its filmed footage captured on location , the film itself, or documentary footage in conjunction with deep archival research, this examination provides a means to provide a broad historical context of this event in West Virginia’s history. We can then use these materials deconstruct and examine the filmed depiction of the event and compare it to Massacre itself. By focusing on one person, Sid Hatfield, we can see that the film is not entirely accurate in its depiction of the event, but yet still is important to use film to evaluate history.
The main goal is to show that while there can be discrepancies in representation of the past, historical films offer a means to engage the viewer in examining the past to better connect with the present. A secondary goal is to provide a means to “do” history in a way that can engage in a multi-sensory, multimedia learning environment.
Intended audience: The intended audience is college level students of film and/or history. The nature of this type of work allows for the reach to be across multiple disciplines.