Perhaps the most important responsibility of this generation of Italian Americans is preserving the history of the generation before us. From researching your own ancestry to donating to and perusing the archives of cultural institutions such as Ohio’s own Western Reserve Historical Society, Italian Americans today contribute to the protection of the events, stories and lives of the people who paved the way for us today.
One local research group, dubbed the Coalburg Ohio Resource Group, is working together to culminate the history of Italian Americans in the Trumbull County region. Their story begins with Joe Tucciarone, a local researcher engaged in recording the history of his hometown of Hubbard, OH. In an article he contributed to La Gazzetta Italiana titled “The First Italians in Trumbull County, OH” (available at www.lagazzettaitaliana.com), Joe recounts the story of an accidental fossil find that propelled what would become Coalburg into the Industrial Age and paved the way for the arrival of the first Italians to the region. Just as the coal urged his ancestors, the story urged Joe to find out more. And, so, the Coalburg Ohio Resource Group was born.
Comprised of almost 20 researchers, historians, story-tellers, and writers, both former and current residents of the Ohio region near Youngstown, the group works to compile their research and share it with the public any way that they can. In fact, members of the Coalburg Ohio Resource Group have already authored and published two Wikipedia articles: “Coalburg, OH” and “Coal Miners’ Strike of 1873.” The article about the strike is of special significance because, save for a couple of newspaper articles, the strike seems to have been entirely forgotten. The Hubbard Soaring Eagle, a Hubbard, OH newspaper, published a two-part piece on a Coalburg mine accident and rescue authored by Tucciarone. On March 27, members of the group presented their historical findings to the Austintown Rotary Club. La Gazzetta has had the privilege of sharing some of the group’s stories in the past and will continue to do so in the future. In fact, members of the Coalburg Ohio Resource Group are also contributing writers* to La Gazzetta, sharing their personal stories and research with us all. Members of the group include: Joe Tucciarone*, Ben Lariccia*, Roslyn Torella*, Beth Cataline Baran, Jim Marsh, Thomas Welsh, Connie Tarr-Bostardi, Romalue Keith, Richard Scarsella, Jean Romeo, Mary Ann Stabile Lark, Stacey Adger, Laura Cuppone, Pamela Dorazio Dean*, Anthony Dion Mitzel, James Wood, Chris Iacono-Rutushin, Martha Pallante, and Donna DeBlasio.
Keeping the stories alive of those before us insures the Italian American legacy remains strong. As time goes on and the lives of the generation before us are buried deeper and deeper into the past, we can be sure that the Italian Americans of the past are being preserved by the Italian Americans of today thanks to people like the members of the Coalburg Ohio Resource Group.