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The River Ran Red

On July 6, 1892, the nation’s largest steelmaker took on its most militant labor union, with devastating consequences for American workers.

The violence that erupted that day at Carnegie Steel's Homestead mill near Pittsburgh caused a congressional investigation and trials for treason, motivated an assassination attempt, contributed to the defeat of an incumbent U.S. president, and changed the course of the American labor movement.

The River Ran Red commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the Homestead strike of 1892. The book recreates the events of that summer in vivid detail, using excerpts from contemporary newspapers and magazines; pen-and-ink sketches and photographs made on the scene; congressional testimony and first-hand accounts by observers and participants; and poems, songs, and sermons published across the country. Contributions by outstanding scholars provide the context for understanding the social and cultural aspects of the strike, as well as its violence.

The River Ran Red is the collaboration of a team of writers, editors, and archivists. Essays by historians Joseph Frazier Wall and David Montgomery describe the role of Andrew Carnegie at Homestead and consider the significance of the Homestead Strike for the present. The book is both readable and richly illustrated. It recalls public and personal reactions to an event in our history whose reverberations are still felt today.