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Pennsylvania miners recall

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  • Martin Votruba
    The Connellsville (South-Western PA) Daily Courier has an article about the history of African-American miners in Pennsylvania. Two of them recall (_Russian_
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 2, 2007
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      The Connellsville (South-Western PA) Daily Courier has an article
      about the history of African-American miners in Pennsylvania. Two of
      them recall (_Russian_ should most likely be understood as _Rusyn_):

      [...] Mickens said his grandmother could speak Russian and Slovak from
      talking to others in the neighborhood. "But she could not write her
      name. We didn't see prejudice. Other patches built separate
      neighborhoods for Afro-Americans, but we lived side-by-side."

      Haile recalls that in Crabtree, near Pittsburgh, "I didn't know
      anything about discrimination. The kids got along -- Italians,
      Slovaks -- everyone, we'd go to their houses to eat, they'd go to our
      house to eat." [...]

      The whole article published on April 2 is at:

      http://tinyurl.com/2zkzk6


      Martin

      votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
    • Michelle Burke
      You know, my mother, who was from a coal patch town in southwestern Pennsylvania, once told me about the time that the Klan burned a cross on one of the hills
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 5, 2007
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        You know, my mother, who was from a coal patch town in southwestern Pennsylvania, once told me about the time that the Klan burned a cross on one of the hills overlooking the mine -- this would have been sometime in the late twenties -- the Klan was opposed to both the Catholic immigrants and the African American population in town.

        Her high school graduation picture (published in the newspaper) shows an integrated senior class (if I recall correctly, there were at least two black students in the small class (maybe twenty seniors?).

        When we talked about this (many, many years ago, when I was still a youngster at home), she indicated that integration wasn't a big deal, but I got the sense that there wasn't much socializing between the races (or between kids of different ethnicity anyway).
        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Martin Votruba <votrubam@...>
        To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, April 2, 2007 4:14:03 PM
        Subject: [Slovak-World] Pennsylvania miners recall

        The Connellsville (South-Western PA) Daily Courier has an article
        about the history of African-American miners in Pennsylvania. Two of
        them recall (_Russian_ should most likely be understood as _Rusyn_):

        [...] Mickens said his grandmother could speak Russian and Slovak from
        talking to others in the neighborhood. "But she could not write her
        name. We didn't see prejudice. Other patches built separate
        neighborhoods for Afro-Americans, but we lived side-by-side. "

        Haile recalls that in Crabtree, near Pittsburgh, "I didn't know
        anything about discrimination. The kids got along -- Italians,
        Slovaks -- everyone, we'd go to their houses to eat, they'd go to our
        house to eat." [...]

        The whole article published on April 2 is at:

        http://tinyurl. com/2zkzk6

        Martin

        votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Martin Votruba
        ... I wouldn t be surprised, Michelle. Those were merely two people s recollections. Moreover, it is often the case that a shunned group, unless it got
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 5, 2007
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          > I got the sense that there wasn't much socializing
          > between the races (or between kids of different ethnicity anyway).

          I wouldn't be surprised, Michelle. Those were merely two people's
          recollections. Moreover, it is often the case that a shunned group,
          unless it got radicalized about its status, actually feels some degree
          of affinity to those who shun them.

          For instance, an older survey in Slovakia found that while a segment
          of the Roma/Gypsies named Slovaks among their friends, no Slovaks said
          they had Romani friends. It is also the case in Europe that while
          the Slovaks, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians put the French, Brits, etc.,
          high on their lists of favorite nations, the Westerners, in turn, put
          them quite low on their own lists.

          The same applies across the Atlantic. The Americans were the #1
          favorite nation with the Poles, #3 with the Hungarians, and #6 with
          the Czechs in one survey based not on ranking but on a self-rated
          intensity of positive, neutral/dunno, or negative feelings towards
          them. Those nations would certainly not show up as liked with the
          same intensity by the Americans in a similar survey here.


          Martin

          votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
        • Andy Verostko
          Michelle, This may cause some little uproar on here but here goes anyway... some comments regarding my impressions of discrimination and bias during the 1930
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 6, 2007
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            Michelle,

            This may cause some little uproar on here but here goes anyway...
            some comments regarding my impressions of discrimination and bias
            during the 1930 and 40 time period in a southwestern PA coaltown...




            I grew up in a small coal town not all that far from Crabtree and there was
            discrimination and biases there that have often made me wonder... The
            Slovak's
            didn't care all that much for anyone else except Slovaks... Mistakenly
            calling a
            Slovak a Pollock was considered a serious insult... And I know the
            older members
            of my family looked down on the Italian and much disliked anybody
            English or Irish.....
            And the Irish hated the English and no Irish lad or lassie dared even look
            at anyone other than somebody Irish... Many kids, and I know a few,
            were tossed out of their families for not marrying their own kind or
            for not marrying their own faith... And I once thought that "G'Damned
            Jonny Bull"
            was one word and that was the affectionate term used
            to refer to the mine owners and pit bosses by those who worked in the
            mines...
            and of course I heard often enough the term "Dumb Hunkey" in reference
            to me and my family... and yet, we all went to school together
            and played together, but woe to the young person who fell for and
            wanted to marry someone of a different faith or nationality... as a rule,
            the immigrant family or the first generation from Slovakia would not
            accept it nor would
            any other nationality... And I do want to make it clear that I am
            speaking
            mostly of the original Immigrant and or the 1st generation in the US in the
            1930, 1940 time frame in the coal patch towns... after that, one could
            see these biases changing and they became more cultural and economic....
            and yet, actually that is what they were at that time... Just that the
            cultural and
            economic differences did to a great extent follow nationality and
            religious lines.....

            .

            .



            Michelle Burke wrote:

            > You know, my mother, who was from a coal patch town in southwestern
            > Pennsylvania, once told me about the time that the Klan burned a cross
            > on one of the hills overlooking the mine -- this would have been
            > sometime in the late twenties -- the Klan was opposed to both the
            > Catholic immigrants and the African American population in town.
            >
            > Her high school graduation picture (published in the newspaper) shows
            > an integrated senior class (if I recall correctly, there were at least
            > two black students in the small class (maybe twenty seniors?).
            >
            > When we talked about this (many, many years ago, when I was still a
            > youngster at home), she indicated that integration wasn't a big deal,
            > but I got the sense that there wasn't much socializing between the
            > races (or between kids of different ethnicity anyway).
            > ----- Original Message ----
            > From: Martin Votruba <votrubam@... <mailto:votrubam%40yahoo.com>>
            > To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Slovak-World%40yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Monday, April 2, 2007 4:14:03 PM
            > Subject: [Slovak-World] Pennsylvania miners recall
            >
            > The Connellsville (South-Western PA) Daily Courier has an article
            > about the history of African-American miners in Pennsylvania. Two of
            > them recall (_Russian_ should most likely be understood as _Rusyn_):
            >
            > [...] Mickens said his grandmother could speak Russian and Slovak from
            > talking to others in the neighborhood. "But she could not write her
            > name. We didn't see prejudice. Other patches built separate
            > neighborhoods for Afro-Americans, but we lived side-by-side. "
            >
            > Haile recalls that in Crabtree, near Pittsburgh, "I didn't know
            > anything about discrimination. The kids got along -- Italians,
            > Slovaks -- everyone, we'd go to their houses to eat, they'd go to our
            > house to eat." [...]
            >
            > The whole article published on April 2 is at:
            >
            > http://tinyurl. com/2zkzk6
            >
            > Martin
            >
            > votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
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