Press Releases


THE BATTLE OF HOMESTEAD FOUNDATION presents:

A special Meet & Greet with acclaimed actor Mark Rylance – plus –

An Evening with Mark Rylance & Friends On Stage

Events honoring the 125th Anniversary of the Homestead Strike of 1892

FRIDAY, JUNE 30 7:00 PM. MEET. GREET. COMMEMORATE. WITH ACTOR-ACTIVIST-PLAYWRIGHT MARK RYLANCE.

THURSDAY, JULY 6 7:30 PM. MARK RYLANCE & FRIENDS: SHAKESPEARE & THE BATTLE OF HOMESTEAD.

PITTSBURGH, PA (MAY 17, 2017): Two events inspired by the the historic 1892 Battle of Homestead bring world acclaimed actor, activist, theater director, producer and playwright Mark Rylance back to Pittsburgh to share his passion for this pivotal incident in American history.

An exclusive Meet and Greet with Mark Rylance will be held on Friday, June 30 at the Bost Building.

Mark Rylance & Friends: Shakespeare & The Battle Of Homestead will be presented on Thursday, July 6 at The Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead.

The programs acknowledge the 125th Anniversary of the Battle of Homestead, when thousands of locked-out steel workers and townspeople clashed with Pinkerton guards hired by Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie. Rylance calls it “a story worthy of Shakespeare”.

“I came to Pittsburgh in 2003 looking for a new play worthy of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater,” says Rylance, “I discovered a story worthy of this globe (planet Earth) we hope to continue living on. It has obsessed me ever since.” Rylance and co-writer Peter Reder are working on a multi-part play about this battle.

The Meet. Greet. Commemorate event with Rylance as guest of honor, features light fare, drinks, and music led by local musician Jason Kendall at the historic Bost Building (the 1892 workers’ union headquarters), 623 East Avenue, Munhall, PA 15120. Rylance will meet guests, who can also tour the steelmaking exhibits and artifacts at the Bost. Silent Auction and ticket revenues go to the non-profit Battle of Homestead Foundation, to continue to preserve and share this dramatic history with future generations and bring interested visitors to this area.

TICKETS: $150. To purchase, go to: battleofhomestead.org

An Evening with Mark Rylance and Friends: Shakespeare & The Battle of Homestead will be held at the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead, 510 East Avenue, Munhall, PA 15120. Rylance will perform some of his favorite speeches from Shakespeare. He will also join with his co-writer Peter Reder, local actors and musicians, to remember and revisit resonant words, characters, songs and situations from the years leading up to 1892. Ticket proceeds go to The Battle of Homestead Foundation.

TICKETS: $25 – $50. To purchase, go to: ticketfly.com or librarymusichall.com.

These events are part of a yearlong series of lectures, films, plays, education initiatives and musical offerings to honor the Homestead clash and related history. Visit battleofhomestead.org for details. They are funded in part by The Waterfront, The Rivers of Steel Heritage Area, The United Steelworkers, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Mark Rylance was artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London from 1995-2005. He first came to Pittsburgh in 1990, playing Hamlet for the Public Theater and returned again in 2003 to perform Twelfth Night. He has acted on Broadway and become more widely known for his roles in films such as Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and The BFG. He is currently working on Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, scheduled for release July 21. His television work includes the BBC miniseries Wolf Hall that aired on PBS in America. He has written two original plays and was recently created a Knight Bachelor in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to the theater. He is a committed activist for a number of environmental and human rights causes.

For more information on Rylance, the history of the Battle of Homestead and its significance, or for more details about these two special events, please contact: Lynne Squilla –  battleofhomestead@earthlink.net

 


For Immediate Release: May 19, 2017
Contact: John Haer, (412) 478-5907, johnhaer1@gmail.com

Steelworkers’ Stories Will Be Highlighted in June Events at the Historic Pump House in Homestead

Pittsburgh, PA ― Steelworkers’ stories of life and work in and out of the mills will be the focus of two events being presented by the Battle of Homestead Foundation (BHF) next month at the Historic Pump House in Homestead. A film screening, and a discussion featuring recollections by former and current steelworkers, will examine challenges facing workers in the local steel industry in the 20th and 21st centuries.

“We want to show how the struggles that steelworkers have faced going back to the turn of the century, with the Battle of Homestead strike, through the organizing of the union that became the United Steelworkers in the 1930s, is very much linked to some of the challenges workers face today,” BHF President John Haer said.

“As our events will show, even in ‘good times’ for the industry, not all workers have been treated the same, and some workers ― notably African-Americans and women ― have often had to struggle more than others.”

On Thursday, June 8, BHF will screen the award-winning film “Struggles in Steel: A Story of African-American Steelworkers” by Ray Henderson and Tony Buba. The film examines the industrial racism and other hardships faced by workers in mill towns along the Monongahela River, such as Braddock. A discussion with Buba will follow the screening. (June 8, 7:00 pm at the Historic Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, PA 15210.)

On Saturday, June 24, steelworkers from “back in the day” and current steelworkers will tell their stories of life in the mill and changes in the industry. The panel, “Steelworkers Then and Now,” will be introduced by historian Joel Woller, who will discuss the importance of collective memory, emphasizing that steelworkers in the 1930s rallied around stories of the Homestead Strike of 1892 when forming the United Steelworkers union. (June 24, 1:30 pm at the Historic Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, PA 15210.)

The events will be sponsored by the Battle of Homestead Foundation, with support from The Waterfront, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Rivers of Steel Heritage Area.

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.

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For Immediate Release: April 27, 2017

Events in May Will Examine Pittsburgh, the World, in 1892 The Year of the “Battle of Homestead”

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.
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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.