Day 11: Field Trip!

Today, with the steady rain falling all across Hazleton, we decided to take a field trip to the Anthracite Heritage Museum and the Lackawanna Coal Mine tour in Scranton. They were both fantastic experiences for all of us. We also had the opportunity to ask for help from the curator at the museum, John Fielding. He brought out a copy of Beer’s 1873 atlas of Luzerne County. As a result, we found the oldest map of the town of Lattimer we have been able to find thus far (pictured above). After returning home from the trip I collected some observations and thoughts this evening:

Katie Nyulassy had this to say: “It didn’t occur to me when we were finding toys at the Canal Street site that there is a sort of contradiction with the images we saw of these children enduring adult work roles and work conditions. It is a wonder that after work they would return to their home sites and play with these toys. But how would the work roles manifest themselves in a domestic site? Toys evoke the image of innocence and purity, but when you see them in the photographs and dioramas working in the mines as a nipper or mule driver, there is such a stark contrast.”

Mike Roller said: “I was really moved, but also surprised with the emotions evoked by the mine tour. At one point the tour guide suggested that the harsh work conditions came directly from the greed of the mine operators. A woman in the tour responded, a low growl in her voice, “What are the names of some of those greedy people responsible for this?” The tour guide responded, “Well they are all dead, though some descendents are still around.” She responded, even lower and deeper than before, “I just need a name….”

Paul Shackel suggested: “I like that they made a connection to the present in the museum. It is important as we learn to live and survive with each other in our own communities. I was also moved by the horror of child labor and the general lack of concern for human life”

Katie Chen said: “The image of the luggage trunks and the struggle through the immigration process was really moving. I was surprised to learn the fact that the immigrants could be turned away for any excuse. There was one potent image of potential immigrants lined up in pens awaiting processing”

Samantha Schwartz said: “I was moved to hear about the working conditions of the miners. It made me realize that the site is more than a house site or a collection of domestic trash, but it is connected to what they sacrificed their health and lives for.”

Lucas Daransky wrote: “What impacted me the most out of our day at the Anthracite Heritage Museum was the level of pride shared among all those who worked in the Anthracite Mines. Whether it was young, middle or older aged men, they all felt such a sense of pride and I think this carried back into their personal lives at home. Eastern European families were a close knit group before ever having worked in the mines, and now they were even closer. Some of the jobs helped by the youngest of employees would challenge a full grown man of today! This makes me look at Lattimer in a new light of how the home unit worked and interacted amongst each other.”

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About LM Project

The LMP is a collaborative endeavor which aims to recognize the events surrounding the Lattimer Massacre, an incident that changed the labor movement and impacted the world by bringing to light economic disparities and ethnic tensions in the anthracite region of PA.
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