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Bites & Bits of History: The Coal War in the Mahoning Valley

Thursday, July 18, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Coal War

The Coal War in the Mahoning Valley: The Origin of Greater Youngstown’s Italians will be presented by authors Joe Tucciarone and Ben Lariccia.

The iron furnaces of Ohio’s Mahoning Valley roared. Year after year, local Welsh coal diggers supplied ironworks in Youngstown and far beyond. But the good times ended in the closing weeks of 1872. The demand for iron slackened, and with it, coal orders fell. Responding to plunging coal prices, mine owners cut wages, but rank-and-file miners would have none of it. On New Year’s Day, they went on strike. The bitter stalemate broke only when operators sidestepped local labor by employing African Americans from Virginia and Italian immigrants crowding the Eastern Seaboard. Violence followed. Yet this vicious strife opened the Mahoning Valley to permanent Italian settlement. Authors Ben Lariccia and Joe Tucciarone uncover this forgotten chapter in the region’s storied labor history.

Ben Lariccia, a native of Youngstown, is a public historian and writer in the area of Italian American history. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in bilingual/bicultural education from La Salle University. For thirty years, he taught in the School District of Philadelphia. Ben is a contributing writer at the La Gazzetta Italiana newspaper. His work is also published in print and online by the Italian group Amici di Capracotta. He is a member of the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia and the Italian American Studies Association.

Joe Tucciarone was born in Youngstown and raised in nearby Hubbard. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Youngstown State University and a master’s degree from the University of Toledo. In 2000, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Youngstown State University. His astronomical animations have appeared in dozens of Discovery and National Geographic Channel documentaries, and his illustrations enhance the covers of several books, including When the Sun Dies and Night Comes to the Cretaceous. La Gazzetta Italiana recently published Joe’s article “The First Italians in Trumbull County, Ohio.”

Bring your own lunch, or visit Overture for their $6 Bites and Bits Lunch Special. Call Overture at 330-744-9900 to place your order. Coffee, pop, and water are available for purchase at the History Center.

The daily parking lot on the west side of the building is available for $2.50. Place money in the numbered slot which corresponds to your parking space in the white box on the Federal Street sidewalk.

For more information contact the Historical Society at 330-743-2589 or visit


Thursday, July 18, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Tyler History Center
325 W. Federal St.
Youngstown, OH 44503 United States
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