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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 28, 2017 03:13 PM
From: Senator Sharif Street
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolution Observing June 21st as “The Day of the Rope” in Pennsylvania.
In the near future, I plan to introduce a resolution Observing June 21st as “The Day of the Rope” in Pennsylvania.

Irish workers who emigrated to America during the 19th century often faced harsh discrimination. Displayed at many job sites were signs that read “Irish Need Not Apply.” One place they did find work was in the often-dangerous Pennsylvania coal mines in Schuylkill County.

In late 1874, Franklin Gowen, the president of the Reading Railroad who controlled the mines at the time, announced severe wage cuts. The miners went out on strike.

During the strike, the mine operators blamed any act of violence in the region on a secret group of labor radicals known as the Molly Maguires, calling their actions terrorism. Others called it resistance. Franklin Gowen hired an Irish American to infiltrate the miners who gathered evidence to send many of the miners through high profile criminal trials conducted in an atmosphere of religious and social bigotry.

On June 21st, 1877, Twenty Irish miners in Pennsylvania were hung, even though much of the testimony presented in the case was inconclusive and contradictory. It became known in Pennsylvania labor history as “The Day of the Rope.”

I encourage members to join me in co-sponsoring the resolution which pays respect to all those who have been discriminated and wrongfully because of their race, class, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

Introduced as SR163