Forged in November

A fateful high school football game overshadows a bitter 1950s steel strike.
  1. Nov. 6th, 1959. A blue sky over Braddock. Reflected in the Monongahela, that clean, bright blue seemed like a miracle. Nearly four months into a nationwide steel strike, the soot-free sky hadn’t lost its novelty. On porches people read the paper. The Braddock Free Press came twice weekly and offered the comfortable texture of small town life: bake sales, Boy Scouts, advice for weatherproofing homes. And football. All through fall, football. Friday was game day in Braddock and the paper carried full pre-game coverage. Was John Gay going to have another breakout performance? Would Klausing keep the unbelievable streak alive? That Friday, the Braddock High Tigers were playing North Braddock Scott, their biggest rival. There were more significant headlines—a Supreme Court decision loomed, one that would have huge implications for the region’s striking steelworkers—but those stories had nowhere near the urgency of that night’s matchup. Football held the town’s attention.

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