Hidden Labor History

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How a 1897 Massacre of Pennsylvania Coal Miners Morphed From a Galvanizing Crisis to Forgotten History

by Paul A. Shackel  Zokalo Public Square March 2019/Smithsonian.com 

At the western entrance of the coal patch town of Lattimer, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, sits a rough-cut shale boulder, about eight feet tall, surrounded by neatly trimmed bushes. A bronze pickax and a shovel are attached to the boulder, smaller pieces of coal rest at its base, and an American flag flies high above it.

Locals and union members sometimes refer to the boulder as the “Rock of Remembrance” or the “Rock of Solidarity.” Still others call it the Lattimer Massacre Memorial. It was erected to memorialize immigrant coal miners from Eastern Europe who were killed by local authorities in 1897 when they protested for equal pay and better working conditions. The boulder is adorned with a bronze plaque that describes the massacre and lists the names of the men who died at the site.

What’s most interesting about the memorial is that it was built in 1972. Why did it take 75 years to commemorate the 19 men killed at Lattimer? I’ve devoted close to a decade to understanding how the event is remembered and why it took so long to pay permanent tribute.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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