Joe Tucciarone e Ben Lariccia presentano la prima storia completa della Grande Guerra del carbone del 1873, nel loro libro War in the Mahoning Valley: The Origin of Greater Youngstown’s Italians, disponibile dal 1° luglio su Amazon.
Correva l’anno 1872 e la Mahoning Valley era l’epicentro di una fiorente industria del ferro, con Youngstown il suo cuore pulsante e le fonderie più efficienti della nazione. Al centro della prosperità della città c’era il carbone, il cui flusso era controllato da una manciata di potenti uomini. I mercati instabili negli Stati Uniti e una drammatica decrescita economica in Italia confluirono per creare un conflitto senza precedenti tra i proprietari delle miniere - che annunciarono una drastica riduzione dei salari - ed i minatori che indirono uno sciopero iniziato il giorno di Capodanno del 1873 nelle valli di Mahoning, Shenango e Tuscarawas. Rifiutandosi di scendere a negoziati, Andrews, Powers e Brown assunsero afroamericani della Virginia ed immigrati italiani che portarono da New York. La controffensiva dei minatori scaturì in un conflitto a sangue da cui nacque in seguito la prima comunità italoamericana della Mahoning Valley.
Joe Tucciarone and Ben Lariccia present the first comprehensive history of the Great Coal War of 1873 in their upcoming book published by The History Press, “Coal War in the Mahoning Valley: The Origin of Greater Youngstown’s Italians.”
The year was 1872 and the U.S. was entering a glittering Gilded Age. Ohio’s Mahoning Valley was the epicenter of a roaring iron industry with Youngstown at its beating heart. The city boasted the most efficient foundries in the nation. At the core of their success was the foundation of the city’s prosperity: coal. And its flow was controlled by a handful of powerful men including Chauncey Andrews, William Powers and Richard Brown.
Volatile U.S. coal markets and an economic tailspin in Italy set the stage for unprecedented conflict in the Youngstown area. Scrambling to steady the market, mine owners announced a wage cut. But rank and file miners would have none of it. They struck on New Year’s Day 1873, idling over 7,000 miners in the Mahoning Valley and the Shenango and Tuscarawas Valleys.
Unwilling to negotiate with their rebellious workers, Andrews, Powers and Brown opted for a startling maneuver to reopen their mines. Side-stepping local laborers, they hired African Americans from Virginia and Italian immigrants from New York. The counteroffensive was a death knell to the bitter stalemate, but the strikers did not go quietly into the night. Blindsided and enraged, they targeted the strikebreakers and bloodshed followed. Yet, from this vicious strife would grow the earliest Italian American community in the Mahoning Valley.
Joe Tucciarone is a science illustrator whose astronomical depictions appeared on book covers, magazine articles and a Steven Spielberg movie. His astronomical animations have appeared in television documentaries on the Discovery and National Geographic channels. Tucciarone’s family history is intertwined with the 1873 coal war in the Mahoning Valley.
Ben Lariccia is a five-year contributor to La Gazzetta Italiana, where he writes on the Italian American community in the Mahoning Valley www.lagazzettaitaliana.com/local-news/8651-liberty-township-the-1873-coal-war-and-the-italians.
“Coal War in the Mahoning Valley: The Origin of Greater Youngstown’s Italians” will be available on July 1, 2019 on Amazon.