Hazleton area is in the heart of the coal region. The movie, The Molly Maguires, was filmed a short distance away in a village called Eckley, in circa 1968. It was a big deal having Hollywood celebrities in town. Many of the local residents got hired to play parts in the movie. But who were the Molly Maguires? It seems historians had to re-write their legacy. What does this have to do with furthering father's rights? That will be explained shortly, in a few weeks, but it was a struggle against big business. The coal region has a violent legacy of oppression. Back then miners had no rights. Point to make for now, during that time, for those class of men, what lawyer would take their cause? For all intent and purpose, the legal system or the courthouse did not exist; no redress of grievances.
The eternal question: When does violence become a right? When you have no others. (Please don't get me wrong, I do not endorse or condone violence. But I understand it and its necessity.)
During their time, prior to the Civil War, the word "union" was considered an illegal conspiracy. Those that belonged, criminals and outlaws. But who was handing out the labels? One could say, as the times dictated, they became terrorists. Did they have a choice? Back then Negroes were not the only class being exploited.
After several years of opposition, they were captured and organization discredited. A mock trial found them guilty and sentenced to death. Historians have agreed that the legal system was handed over to the coal barons for their personal stage as "government" turned a blind eye to the proceedings. Big business determined to teach the peasants a lesson and show them who's boss. For many years the trophy was secure.
However, unions finally prevailed, became recognized and developed into a unified power base of its own. Now, the politicians had to face, in negotiation, the same type of men they once helped hang. What to do? Bureaucrats have long held a tradition of hiding their shame with a plaque as if a petrified bouquet of roses and a speech will correct a wrong. The picture below was taken in 1998. The memorial displayed on the Schuylkill County Prison, next to the main entrance. It seems yesterday's criminal is today's champion for the working class. Who knows, maybe tomorrow will bring a different label once again, depending on the political climate. Is the bureaucrat or politician a friend of the worker? Ever? Shall we talk about NAFTA?
I have posted a set of pictures of the Lattimer Massacre. A friend of mine, Jim M., of the Teamsters, thoughtful as he is, did me a favor and took some pictures. They are a vivid reminder of the times and struggle for fairness and equity.
Photos Click Here
A little trivia for now. Back in 1998 I did a lot of traveling. One stop was the State Police Headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa. Upon entering their main hall, there is a small museum dedicated to their roots. Proudly displayed is a picture of Pinkerton. Yes, it seems beyond dispute from researching history, the Pennsylvania State Police was patterned after the very same organization that were, in effect, hired mercenaries for big business and those who crushed the Molly Maguires.
Update will follow.
Latest Update: 11-14 -2001