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Written by Dale Freudenberger
Mining History Week in Northeast Pa was celebrated the week of January 16 -23, 2013. The annual commemoration in the Anthracite Coal Region of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor included observances in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Port Griffith, Ashley, Summit Hill and Lansford. The annual event focuses on honoring and remembering the tens of thousands of mineworkers who worked in or around the coal mines. Many were injured, killed, or suffered black lung disease.
Among the programs offered were a visit to the site of the 1959 Knox Mine disaster along the banks of the Susquehanna River, laying a wreath at several grave sites of disaster victims, a program about the Blue Coal Corporation, a Molly Maguire lecture and dinner at Kings College, and a feature story about a 50 year underground mine fire in the Panther Valley.
This year’s Mining History Week featured programs sponsored by the Anthracite Heritage Foundation, King’s College, the Anthracite Heritage Museum, the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Luzerne County Historical Society, the Huber Breaker Preservation Society, the Anthracite Living History Group, the Old Forge Coal Mine Committee, the Greater Pittston Historical Society, the Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Committee, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum, and Summit Hill Historical Society.
One of the highlights of the week-long event was a lecture by Professor Kevin Kenny of Boston College. Professor Kenny is one of the foremost authorities on the Molly Maguires and the author of ‘Making Sense of the Molly Maguires’. Kenny was welcomed by a capacity crowd of over 250 people in the Burke Auditorium at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre.
Pictured with Professor Kenny are L to R – Jim Christmas, Prof. Kevin Kenny (author of Making Sense of the Molly Maguires), Jim Burke (retired COO of Paramount Pictures and the movie ‘The Molly Maguires’, Dale Freudenberger (Anthracite Region Coordinator with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor), and Dr. Robert Wolensky, author of numerous books on Anthracite history. Burke, Freudenberger and Wolensky are also Directors of the Anthracite Heritage Foundation.