The Battle of Homestead: Where Are They Now?


Pittsburgh loves it’s fireworks. We have them for pretty much no reason. Even the Pirates, that overpaid little league team, break out the top-shelf fireworks a few times a month. So it’s heartening that the people of the region still get excited for the symbolic explosions, even if it’s on the anniversary of the half-revolution of 1776, especially since there were several notable attempts to finish the job in the region.

The Battle of Homestead was one such occasion. You know the story, on July 6, 1892, thousands of locked-out steelworkers and their families, forcefully seized Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead works, which had been fortified in anticipation of battle with workers unwilling to accept the 18% pay cut. A well-organized Strike Committee put the town of Homestead into the hands of the workers and forced a retreat of Henry Clay Frick’s hired Pinkerton guns, with rifles, cannon, incendiaries, and dynamite. When Gov. Pattison, who was elected with help from Carnegie, mobilized the state militia, and the workers naively hoped to reason with them. The militia regained control of the plant in less than an hour, but the strike continued. By the time of the unsuccessful attempt on Frick’s life by a young Alexander Berkman, which was manipulated by the bourgeois press to erode sympathy for the strikers, scabs were running the Homestead works at full capacity.

Where are they now?

If I missed anything, or got something wrong, let me know.