WCSA Class Matters Conference
Three Rivers / Three Tours of Historical Sites
a.) Oakland to Homestead Visit to the Pump House: Site of the 1892 Battle between Steelworkers and Pinkertons – the defining event in the struggle for industrial unionism.
b.) Visit to the Gate of the Edgar Thomson mill of U.S. Steel. Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill. Site of 1916 Electrical Workers Mayday march and 1919 Steel Strike.
c.) Tour the Braddock Carnegie Library, the first Carnegie Library in the United States (1889). Now an extraordinary monument to a community effort to rescue the magnificent building from destruction and reconstitute it as a community center. Braddock is the scene of Thomas Bell’s Out of this Furnace, one of the great novels of the immigrant experience.
a.) Stop at the Allegheny Landing site of the Cotton Mill Riots of 1845 and 1848 where young women and girls won the first restrictions of the hours of work and of child labor in Pennsylvania.
b.) Visit to McKees Rocks and tour the locations associated with the 1909 strike of immigrant workers at the Pressed Steel Car company, the “Indian Mound,” the remaining buildings of the factory that workers called the “Slaughterhouse” and “The Last Chance,” and the workers’ enclave of Presston remarkably intact in this centennial year of the strike where more than fifteen people were killed in pitched battles. A Panel discussion on the meaning and significance of the strike will be held on site.
a.) Stop at the 28th Street crossing where the Philadelphia militia fired into Pittsburgh citizens during the 1877 Railroad Strike killing twenty.
b.) Visit to St. Nicholas Croatian Church to see the striking murals of Maxo Vanka depicting both religious and political themes in an amazing assemblage of 26 murals covering the entire church interior (1937, 1941).
c.) Visit the Springdale home of Rachel Carson. While Carson’s work was preoccupied with the impact on nature of chemical and nuclear pollution, her powerful books helped pave the way for the passage of OSHA and MSHA as well as the establishment of the EPA.