Coal War in the Mahoning Valley: The Origin of Greater Youngstown’s Italians by 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.