Press Releases


For Immediate Release: April 27, 2017
Contact: John Haer, (412) 478-5907, johnhaer1@gmail.com
Pittsburgh, PA ― Two events in May, presented by the Battle of Homestead Foundation (BHF), will examine the situation in Pittsburgh, and the wider world, in 1892 ― the year that the “Battle of Homestead” labor conflict took place.
“The year 1892 was hugely important not only for Pittsburgh, but for the wider world,” BHF President John Haer said. “There was a great deal of uncertainty at the time, and there were major struggles in the realms of politics, technology, industry, the environment ― and certainly, labor ― to determine the future course of events.”

On Thursday, May 11, the presentation “1892 ~ The Situation of America” will offer a perspective on people ― including J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, George Westinghouse, Nikolai Tesla, and Thomas Edison ― and formative events regarding U.S. politics, industries, immigration, and growing environmental concerns, that had an impact on America during that turbulent year. (May 11, 7:00 pm at the Historic Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, PA 15210.)

On Sunday, May 21, BHF will offer a presentation on “Willa Cather in Pittsburgh.” Cather, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1923, lived in Pittsburgh for six years (1898–1904) and worked as a teacher of English and Latin in Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh’s Northside), and as a journalist and editor. Cather returned often to Pittsburgh to write and visit her dear friend Isabel McClung, whose father was the judge at the trial of Alexander Berkman (who attempted to assassinate Henry Frick). She was also a friend of journalist and poet Arthur Burgoyne who reported extensively on the 1892 Homestead Strike. Her Pittsburgh stories, edited by BHF member, the late Peter Oresick, were published by CMU press last fall. (May 21, 3:00 pm at the Historic Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, PA 15210.)
“Cather’s connections to Pittsburgh, and how Pittsburgh influenced her life and her writings, are not widely known,” Haer said. “We hope to illuminate the ways in which our city’s history is intertwined with this literary giant.”

This year, the 125th anniversary of the “Battle of Homestead,” considered to be one of the most important labor struggles in US history, BHF is presenting a series of theatrical events, film screenings, discussions, and other activities to commemorate the Battle and to educate the community about its enduring importance.

The Battle of Homestead of 1892 left seven strikers and three Pinkertons dead after a gun battle centered around the Pump House at the Homestead Works. Henry Clay Frick, at the time in the employ of Andrew Carnegie, had locked out the most skilled steelworkers. This led the entire 4,000-strong workforce of the Homestead Steel Works to walk out on strike. In order to break the union and bring in scabs, Frick had already hired the infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency. The bloodshed ensued when barges carrying hundreds of Pinkertons traveled up the Mon River to Homestead.

The Battle of Homestead Foundation is committed to preserving the history of the Battle of Homestead and to educating the public about its legacies. BHF has successfully preserved the Historic Pump House building, which has become a venue for educational and community events, and led efforts to commemorate the Battle of Homestead with plaques describing the event and honoring the dead. BHF has also been involved in establishing historic markers at sites related to the the 1877 Railroad Strike, the 1909 McKees Rocks Pressed Steel Car Strike, Mother Jones, Francis Perkins, and many historic events and persons in Western Pennsylvania.

For more information: battleofhomestead@gmail.com, 412-478-5907, battleofhomestead.org.
###

 

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2017

The 125th Anniversary of the “Battle of Homestead” to Be Commemorated this Year with Event Series

Plays, Film Screenings, Remembrance Service, and More Will Showcase Historic Importance of 1892 Strike

Contact: John Haer, (412) 478-5907, johnhaer1@gmail.com

Pittsburgh, PA ― The Battle of Homestead Foundation (BHF) will commemorate the 125th anniversary of the “Battle of Homestead” strike ― considered by many historians to be one of the most important labor struggles in US history ― with a series of performances, film screenings, and discussions from April through October. The program series is themed “Yesterday and Tomorrow: the Legacy of the 1892 Homestead Strike.” Highlights will include an original production by local playwright and director Mark Clayton Southers, and a remembrance service on the day of the anniversary at the graves of strikers.

“Learning about the events in Homestead 1892 leads to intriguing comparisons and contrasts to political and economic dynamics today,” BHF President John Haer said. “It deserves reflection and remembrance, especially during a significant anniversary year, such as this one.”

The event series will kick off on April 6 with a discussion focused on family history, Homestead’s Jewish community, and the interdependence of the town’s merchants and millworkers when BHF member Tammy Hepps will present the story of her grandfather and his role in the Jewish community of Homestead in the aftermath of the Homestead Strike. (April 6, 7:00 pm at the Bost Building, 623 E. 8th Ave., Homestead, PA 15210.)

On April 22, BHF will examine the Battle’s legacy for the region with a film screening, “The Union Comes to Aliquippa,” on improvements won by organizing steelworkers during the mid-1930s Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) union drives. The film tells the dramatic story of the struggle at J & L Steel that led to the famous Supreme Court decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Wagner Act. The win at Aliquippa extended the union beyond US Steel, which surrendered in secret negotiations between CIO President John L. Lewis and then US Steel chairman and CEO Myron Taylor. But the Memorial Day massacre of 1937, just weeks after, kept the union inside “Little Steel” without a contract until 1941. A panel discussion will follow. (April 22, 1:30 pm at the Historic Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, PA 15210.)

The Battle of Homestead of 1892 left seven strikers and three Pinkertons dead after a gun battle centered around the Pump House at the Homestead Works. Henry Clay Frick, at the time in the employ of Andrew Carnegie, had locked out the most skilled steelworkers. This led the entire 4,000-strong workforce of the Homestead Steel Works to walk out on strike. In order to break the union and bring in scabs, Frick had already hired the infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency. The bloodshed ensued when barges carrying hundreds of Pinkertons traveled up the Mon River to Homestead.

The Battle of Homestead Foundation is committed to preserving the history of the Battle of Homestead and to educating the public about its legacies. BHF has successfully preserved the Historic Pump House building, which has become a venue for educational and community events, and led efforts to commemorate the Battle of Homestead with plaques describing the event and honoring the dead. BHF has also been involved in establishing historic markers at sites related to the the 1877 Railroad Strike, the 1909 McKees Rocks Pressed Steel Car Strike, Mother Jones, Francis Perkins, and many historic events and persons in Western Pennsylvania.