TO MY WEB SITE!!
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO VIEW AND READ
ABOUT A STEEL TOWN THAT IS NO MORE
AND HOW AND WHY IT AFFECTED THE RESIDENTS
OF YOUNGSTOWN THEN AND STILL TODAY…







    My name is Kathleen M. Jackson, I am a student at Youngstown State University, who is studying Labor studies and American studies. At this site you will be able to view paintings from the Butler Institute of American Art that express the hard times and struggles during the times of the steel mills and the dramatic strikes.
 
 


"Youngstown Strike" by William Gropper






    The painting here demonstrates the violence that was caused by the strikes. The colors used here are very important because the artist’s is expressing the anger and suffering that the people sustained. The black background gives you that depressing look, however, the brightness of their faces was also very eye catching. The facial expressions shown here are also a depiction of the horror they went through. As you can see, the bodies on the ground, and the people throwing fists, and continuing to fight for what they believed. This is not the strike of 1937 but the strike of 1916. However, just a repeat of the strike from 21 years ago. The people in this painting give a survived look; they have lived through such hard times with the strikes and the "great depression". The painting portrays both the workers and their families that protested outside these factories during the strikes, however, after the protest broke out, many people were killed and several were injured. This is an important trademark in our history. This just one illustration of our steel mill strikes and the reaction people had and what that did to their lives. The steel mills are now closed today, yet the families of past generation steel mill workers are still trying to recover and focus on their future.
 

    To get to know the artist, William Gropper, a little better, so you can understand his perspective and background click here.
 
 


 "We Demand" by Joe Jones






    This painting also portrays the hardships during the years of the "Great Depression", how the industrial workers were fighting or rather protesting the companies for better pay and treatment. This painting illustrates both the industrial worker and their families protesting in a long line, with the railroads right directly above them. The painting focuses on the strong arms and hearts of the determined workers, and they were not about to give up what they felt was right to protest for. The economic times were very struggling and what they were "demanding" was what they deserved. The industrial workers were protesting to receive better pay, a better working environment and a better future.  However, as past history will show you, the industrial workers continued to receive minimal pay and much more hard labor.  This continued on throughout the life of the steel mills, however, the workers needed to support their families and had no choice but to work hard and just make ends meet.  Youngstown, as we knew it was known for its steel mills and when that was taken away, so were the hearts of the industrial workers.  There lifestyles were dramatically changed and some saw no hope for a future.
 
 

    You may visit the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor to examine more of why Youngstown is called the "Steel Valley".