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History of Labor Groups Focus of Friends of Library Program

Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Friends of the IUP Libraries will present “The Golden Age of Workers’ Education and the Labor Chautauquas in West Central Pennsylvania” on Nov. 12 at 3 p.m.

The program is free and open to the community. It will be held in Breezedale Alumni Center Library.

IUP history professor Dr. Elizabeth Ricketts and retired history professor Dr. Irwin Marcus will co-present the program.

The pair will discuss how, in the mid-1920s, Hastings, Nanty Glo and Sykesville became the sites of labor chautauquas organized by the United Mine Workers of America District 2.

The chautauquas were programs combining nationally known speakers with entertainment by local talent. These events were designed to raise community morale.

Ricketts and Marcus will explain how the area chautauquas were a part of a wider pattern of labor education that characterized the decade and included the birth of numerous labor colleges, the creation of a national Workers’ Education Bureau and the start of an active workers’ education program within the Ladies Garment Workers Union.

The chautauquas were implemented by Paul Fuller, director of the district’s workers’ education program, and Clara Johnson, a graduate of Indiana Normal School and assistant director of workers’ education for district 2.