Monday, January 17, 2011

A Review from a Michigan Source

From Great Lakes Echo at

Meanwhile, Gary Kaunonen, a graduate student at MTU, takes a different approach to mining in the U.P.

He focuses on the immigrants from Finland who, with others from elsewhere in Europe, worked in the mines, and the strife between labor and management.

Michigan State University Press, $39.95
“Challenge Accepted: A Finnish Immigrant Response to Industrial America in Michigan’s Copper Country” (Michigan State University Press, $39.95) culminates with a bitter 1913-14 strike that the mine owners won.

Almost a century later, the strike is most remembered for tragedy, not for the underlying conflict over unionization and the Finnish workers’ socialist philosophy. That tragedy killed almost 80 people at a crowded Christmas Eve party for multiethnic strikers and their families at Italian Hall in Calumet.

The victims were trampled to death when someone believed to be a management provocateur who falsely yelled “fire” at the party.

“The Italian Hall Disaster,” Kaunonen writes, “brought incredible misery to thousands of people.

“Because of the number of `Finns’ involved with striking factions, persons of Finnish ethnicity were especially affected by the sorrowful events.”

1 comment:

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