The Battle of Homestead Foundation (BHF) is a diverse organization of citizens, workers, educators and historians. It’s purpose is to preserve, interpret, and promote a people’s history focused on the significance of the dramatic labor conflict at Homestead, Pennsylvania in 1892.
The Detailed Story of the 1892 Battle is told Here
100 Years After the Assassination of Mineworker Organizer Fannie Sellins; A Community Commemoration
Monday, August 26 @ 2:00 pm – 8:30 pm
On August 26, 1919, Fannie Sellins, organizer for the mine workers’ union was brutally murdered by Coal and Iron Police outside a mine entry in Natrona Heights when she attempted to intervene in the beating of a picketer. Born Fannie Mooney, Sellins was a garment worker and a widowed mother of four children who became union leader and negotiator for 400 women locked out of a garment factory in St. Louis. In 1913, she came to Pittsburgh and joined a United Mine Worker drive to organize miners in West Virginia. She described her work as the distribution of “…clothing and food to starving women and babies, to assist poverty stricken mothers and bring children into the world, and to minister to the sick and close the eyes of the dying.” Read More Here…
Why Remember 1919?
With the armistice ending the First World War, signed November 11, 1918, manufacturing demand fell and unemployment swelled. Social pressures already exacerbated by wartime labor practices, inflation and postwar corporate repression of unions, only deepened as economic activity slowed.
The steel mills imposed a twelve-hour day of physical labor in a heavily polluted and dangerous workplace over an unrelenting seven-day week.
The Great Steel Strike was on the horizon. Click Here for the Story
ABOUT THE BATTLE OF HOMESTEAD FOUNDATION
The Battle of Homestead Foundation (BHF) is a diverse organization of citizens, workers, educators and historians. It’s purpose is to preserve, interpret, and promote a people’s history focused on the significance of the dramatic labor conflict at Homestead, Pa. in 1892.
Many people interested in the Battle, as well as the history of the working class and the Labor movement, are dedicated to preserving the Pump House (the sole existing structure of the 1892 Homestead Steel Works) as a labor monument to working people that will attract tourism, labor groups, students, and anyone in any way interested in Western Pennsylvania’s fascinating industrial and labor heritage. The BHF strives to assist and abet these interests and efforts. Read More About Us Here
Membership: Get updates on events and happenings of the Battle of Homestead Foundation by becoming a new member, or renewing your membership!
Members receive notice of all BHF events and business and are eligible to vote for Directors of the BHF Board. Membership is open to all persons who pledge to support the BHF mission and make an annual membership contribution.
With your membership you also get free admission to the Heinz History Center via their Affiliates Program. The annual membership card we send you will allow up to four persons per visit to the Heinz History Center, The Fort Pitt Museum, and the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village.
The Legacy of the 1892 Homestead Strike
The Battle of Homestead is the most famous event in American labor history, and perhaps the most significant. Just after dawn on July 6, 1892, the battle erupted when locked-out steelworkers of the Carnegie Steel works at Homestead, together with citizens of the town, broke into the closed and fortified mill nick-named “Fort Frick” after CEO Henry Frick. On the bank of the Monongahela River, they confronted a private army of Pinkerton agents hired by Frick as they attempted to land and secure the mill. The battle was soon joined, and raged throughout the day with gunfire, burning oil, and cannon.
At day’s end, the Pinkertons surrendered. Seven workers and three Pinkerton “detectives” lay dead, with others wounded. When the Pinkertons were led away they were humiliated and beaten as they passed through a gauntlet of enraged women, children and townspeople. The conflict marked a watershed in U.S. labor relations and casts a deep shadow to this day.
Many students of the Homestead battle see it as a signal event in establishing the predominance of the rights of capital over rights of labor in the workplace. While legal and supra-legal suppression of workers was nothing new, Homestead seemed to draw the lines as never before. For several decades after, corporate violence against workers, especially immigrant workers, in the form of private enforcement agencies like the Pinkertons and the infamous Coal and Iron Police, was acceptable, even when the human rights of workers were clearly violated and public sentiment favored their cause.
The Battle of Homestead Foundation was founded to preserve the Pump House, as well as the many stories it has to tell.