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<Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations>

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Allensville (KY) Emancipation Celebration
For more than 123 years, on or around August 8, the Allensville community has been celebrating the Emancipation of African Americans. About 200 people attended the celebration in 1992. For more see "Kentuckians celebrate Emancipation Proclamation," The Evansville Courier, 08/10/1992, Metro section, p. A4.
Subjects: Freedom, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Allensville, Todd County, Kentucky

Bradford, Harrison
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1867
Twenty-four year old Sergeant Harrison Bradford was killed leading a protest at San Pedro Springs, located in San Antonio, Texas, on April 9, 1867. Bradford was shot while protesting the brutality of Lt. Edward Heyl. The shot that killed Bradford was fired by Lt. Frederick Smith during what is called the San Pedro Springs Mutiny. Lieutenant Seth E. Griffin also died from wounds he received during the fight. Harrison Bradford, from Scott County, KY, was a veteran of the Civil War and had served with the 104th Colored Infantry. He re-enlisted in October of 1866 in Louisiana along with fellow Kentuckian, former slave, and Civil War veteran, Jacob Wilks [info]. Bradford served with Company E of the 9th Cavalry [source: U.S. Army Register of Enlistments]. In 1867, the 9th Cavalry Colored soldiers were part of the movement of federal troops sent to Texas, a former Confederate state, to keep order after the Civil War. Troops from the 9th Cavalry Companies A, E, and K arrived in San Antonio at the end of slavery when there was a political debate over whether to extend voting rights to Colored men. The situation was compounded by the racial disagreements and morale issues within the troop companies. The companies were led by white officers. The 9th Cavalry arrived in San Antonio to jeers and curses from community members who felt the federal government was overstepping state's rights, and it was an added insult to have Colored troops reinforce the federal government's power. However, the first military action that resulted in injury and death did not involve the community but occurred during a fight between the 9th Cavalry troops and officers. Lt. Edward Heyl had ordered three Colored troops be hung from trees by their wrists because he felt that they had been slow in responding to his orders. The three troops were Private Fayette Hall, a Civil War veteran; Private Alphonse Goodman; and Private Albert Bailey. Lt. Heyl left camp and went to a saloon, and when he returned, he beat one of the three troops with his saber. Sergeant Harrison Bradford took issue with the behavior and led the protest, confronting Lt. Heyl. Bradford was shot by either Lt. Heyl or Lt. Griffin. Sergeant Bradford and another soldier retaliated. Lt. Heyl, Lt. Seth Griffin, and Lt. Fred Smith were injured. Lt. Smith fired the shot that killed Sergeant Bradford, which led to an all out fight: shots were exchanged between the officers and the Colored troops. Peace was restored with the arrival of troops led by Colonel Wesley Merritt. Lt. Seth Griffin suffered a head wound when he was struck by a saber; he died April 14, 1867. Corporal Charles Wood and Private Irving Charles, Colored troops, were arrested and received death sentences for their part in the fight. Several of the Colored troops involved in the fight were sentenced to prison terms. By the summer of 1867, the 9th Cavalry had been redistributed to other posts in West Texas. Also during the summer of 1867, the Colored people of San Antonio held their first Juneteenth Celebration at San Pedro Springs Park. It was not much later that Corporal Charles Wood, Private Irving Charles, and the Colored troops of the 9th Cavalry who had been sentenced to prison terms were all pardoned and returned to duty; troops were desperately needed on the West Texas front to protect against highway bandits, cattle rustlers, and Native Americans. Lt. Heyl remained with the 9th Cavalry until 1881; he was a colonel in the Inspector General's Department when he died in 1895. Lt. Frederick Smith also stayed with the 9th Cavalry, excelling as an officer, until December of 1869, when his wife was about leave him: Lt. Smith shot himself in the head. The 9th Cavalry developed into a major fighting force in Texas but still received racial hostility from the public and was therefore removed to the New Mexico Territory. For more see On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert; African Americans and Race Relations in San Antonio, Texas, 1867-1937, by K. Mason; chapter 6, "The 9th Cavalry in Texas: Mutiny at San Pedro Springs, Texas, April 1867" in Voices of the Buffalo Soldier, by F. N. Schubert; the entry "9th Cavalry" in African Americans at War: an encyclopedia, Vol. 1, by J. Sutherland; E. Ayala, "Time to recall chains broken," San Antonio Express-News, 06/19/2009, p. 3B; The Buffalo Soldiers: a narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West, by W. H. Leckie and S. A. Leckie; and Black Valor: Buffalo Soldiers and the Medal of Honor, 1870-1898, by F. N. Schubert. Read more about the career of Lt. Frederick Smith in "African American troops of Company K, 9th Cavalry fought in the Battle of Fort Lancaster," an article by W. R. Austerman in the Wild West journal, February 2005 issue [article available online at]. The location of Sergeant Harrison Bradford's grave is not known at this time.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Scott County, Kentucky / San Pedro Springs, San Antonio, Texas

Cologne, Texas
Start Year : 1898
The community of Cologne is located on U.S. Highway 59 in Goliad County, Texas. Former slaves Jim Smith and George Washington are credited with establishing the African American settlement. The first settlers, five families of former slaves from Tennessee and Kentucky, moved to the area in 1870. First known as Centerville, the community's name was changed to Cologne when the post office was established in 1898; the post office was discontinued in 1925. In 1997, as the community was preparing for the Juneteenth celebration, the population was estimated to be 85. For more see C. Clack, "Juneteenth, born of slavery, evolves into free-form day of joy," San Antonio Express-News, section SA Life, p. 1E; Cologne, Texas, by C. H. Roell, at the Texas State Historical Association website; Cologne, Texas at; and From These Roots by F. D. Young.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Migration West, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Tennessee / Cologne (was Centerville), Goliad County, Texas

Elizabethtown (KY) Emancipation Day
Start Year : 1882
The 1882 celebration held in Elizabethtown, KY, was joined by African Americans from southern Illinois. The event is noted as the first recorded Emancipation celebration for southern Illinois. For more see S. K. Cha-Jua, America's first Black town: Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915, p. 104.
Subjects: Freedom, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky

Hathaway, Robert Elijah
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1923
This entry was submitted by Yvonne Giles and the information comes from her research.


Born in Nicholas County, Kentucky, on June 25, 1842, Robert Elijah Hathaway was a slave to Senator Garrett Davis of Bourbon County, KY. Robert E. Hathaway escaped from his owner, and on June 6, 1864, he joined the U.S. Colored Troops, Co. B, 100th Infantry. "His regiment was engaged in repulsive action against John Bell Hood in Tennessee [in] December [of] 1864." After receiving an honorable discharge, Robert E. Hathaway returned to Lexington, KY on January 1, 1866 and lived with his mother, Easter Jackson, and stepfather, Isham Jackson. Robert E. Hathaway was a founding member of the Kentucky State Benevolent Society, which was the organization that founded the First Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky in 1866. Robert E. Hathaway was also a minister and served at the following Disciples of Christ Churches in Kentucky: Midway in Woodford County, Little Rock (39 years) in Bourbon County, and Germantown (27 years) in Mason County. Robert Hathaway also served as an elder at East Second Street Christian Church in Lexington, KY. He was co-organizer of the 1872 Convention of Negro Disciples, Church of Christ, and he served as president of the State Convention in 1902. He was also active on the local level. "News articles listed R. E. Hathaway as one of the committee members who consistently questioned the actions of the City Commissioners regarding the money voted on for establishing park facilities for the colored people. A tribute, following Robert E. Hathaway's death on March 2, 1923, credited him with the securing of Douglass Park and Booker T. Washington School, as well as the founding of the Colored Civic League." The VFW Post #1096 is named in his honor. Hathaway was also a member and the commander of Charles Sumner Post No.61 (1913-1916). He was a member of Masonic Sardis Lodge No.8. He was a member (1898) and president (1904 & 1912) of the Emancipation League in Lexington, KY. Robert E. Hathaway was the husband of Rachel Scott of Lexington, KY, and they were the parents of Fannie, Isaac, and Eva. Rachel Scott Hathaway died in July of 1874, and Robert next married Amanda Newman of Carlisle, KY. Robert E. and Amanda Newman Hathaway are buried next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY. Rachel Scott Hathaway is buried in African Cemetery No.2 in Lexington, Kentucky.



Lexington City Directories from 1875-1928.

U.S. Federal Census records from 1870-1920.

"Tribute to R.E. Hathaway," Lexington Leader, p.2, c8, 03/08/1923.

U.S. Descriptive List of Colored Volunteer Army Soldiers, 1864.

Fayette Circuit Court, 07/09/1868, case #2055.

"Rachel Scott" in the Colored Marriage Record, Fayette County, B1, p.256, 12/27/1869.

"Amanda Newman" in Colored Marriage Record, Nicholas County, B#2, p.174, 09/10/1895.

USCT Pension Certificate #446256, 05/04/1898.

Kentucky Christian Evangel, Church of Christ Archive records, Nashville, TN (2015

Fayette County Circuit Records, Book #23, p.32, July 1883

Proceedings of the 1st Convention of Colored Men in Kentucky, p.32, 1866.

Negro Disciples in Kentucky, 1840-1925 by Claude Walker, 1959 Thesis, College of the Bible, Lexington, KY.

"Christian Missionary Convent" in the column "Colored Circles," Lexington Leader, p.3, c6, 08/06/1902

GAR state encampment journals contributed Jack Mills, Elijah P. Marrs Camp #5.

"President of Emancipation Committee," Lexington Leader, p.3, c4, 11/20/1904.

"President of Emancipation Committee," Lexington Leader, p.2, c5, 12/29/1912.

Death notice of Robert E. Hathaway in Lexington Leader, p.2, c7, 03/01/1923.

"Sardis Lodge No.8 members to conduct services," Lexington Leader, p.2, 03/02/1923.

"VFW Post #1096" in column "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, p.2, c7, section 1, 02/13/1924.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Freedom, Parks & Resorts, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Benevolent Societies
Geographic Region: Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky / Little Rock, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Tennessee / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Germantown, Mason County, Kentucky

Howard University Club of Kentucky (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1907
In the early 1900s, there were several Howard University Clubs in the United States made up of Howard University alumni. In 1907, the Howard University Club of Kentucky was located in Louisville, KY, and on the 1st of January, the group celebrated Emancipation Day at the home of Mrs. Rachel D. Harris and Rev. Everett G. Harris. Albert S. White, president of the club, was the toastmaster. The event was also attended by Mrs. and Mr. James L. Diggs, president of State University [later Simmons University, Kentucky]; Mrs. Bertha P. Whedbee and Dr. Ellis D. Whedbee; Lawyer, W. H. Wright; Mrs. Fanny R. Givens and James E. Givens; William H. Perry, Sr.; Mrs. Willis O'Hara; D. L. Lawson; and Miss Hazel Richardson. For more see "The Howard University Club of Kentucky..." Freeman, 01/19/1907, p. 1.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Fraternal Organizations, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jones, Carridder "Rita"
Carridder Jones was born in South Carolina and lived in Indiana before moving to Kentucky. A playwright and historian, Jones's research has included African American communities in Kentucky, especially the black hamlets in Lexington and Louisville. Her play, "Black Hamlets in the Kentucky Bluegrass," was a finalist in the New York Drama League's New Works Project in 2002. Another of her plays, "The Mark of Cain," was chosen by the University of Louisville's African-American theater program for the Second Annual Juneteenth Festival of New Works. She has presented her research at conferences, programs, workshops, and as productions. She is the co-founder and Director of Women Who Write. In 2006, Jones received the Sallie Bingham Award. She is author of the 2009 book A Backward Glance. For more see "Free Black Hamlets," Courier Journal (Louisville) News, 04/19/04; and "Filmmakers hope to save Bluegrass freetowns," Lexington Herald Leader, 08/10/03.

See photo image and additional information about Carridder Jones at the Oldham County History Center website, 2009.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Artists, Fine Arts, Authors, Historians, Migration West, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Indiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Juneteenth Legacy Theatre
Birth Year : 1999
Death Year : 2010
Beginning in 199, the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre Company performed in Louisville, KY, and New York City. One of the company's major events was the Juneteenth Jamboree, an annual festival that ran for three weeks during the summer (hosted by Actors Theatre in Louisville). The company was "Kentucky's Only Professional African American Theatre Company!" The production history is available on the "About JLT" web page along with the troupe's "Mission: To entertain, to educate, to enrich and to empower communities through the telling of stories about the African-American experience in historical and contemporary contexts." It was announced in 2010 that the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre in Louisville would be ending. For more information contact the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre; K. Neuhauser, "Juneteenth Legacy is closing its curtains," Courier-Journal, 05/31/2010, p. D1.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York City, New York

Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Kentucky
Juneteenth (June 19) is the celebration of the freedom of African American slaves. In Kentucky, Representative Reginald Meeks (D-Louisville) led the push to make Juneteenth a holiday in Kentucky. And though Juneteenth is declared a holiday in Kentucky, it is not yet celebrated statewide. For more see the Juneteeth video [#217] at "Connections with Renee Shaw," 07/07/2007, at KET (Kentucky Educational Television); and HB42.
Subjects: Freedom, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Kentucky African American Museums, Cultural Centers, Trails & Tours, Heritage Sites, and Annual Events
Listed below are museums, culture and heritage centers, and other types of dedications to the history of African Americans in Kentucky that includes artifacts, government documents, manuscripts, art, archival materials, annual events, performances, and travel tours. This list will continue to be updated as new data is received.


Eighth of August (Emancipation Celebrations) Allensville, Crofton, Hopkinsville, Paducha, Russellville 1868
African American Art Exhibiton Actors Theatre [Jefferson County] 2003
African American Forum, Inc. Lexington [Fayette County] 1993
African American Heritage Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Group Tours  
African American Heritage Center Franklin [Simpson County]  
African American History in Danville, Kentucky Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau [Boyd County]  
African American Museum / Bowling Green Area Bowling Green [Warren County] 2010
African American Theatre Program University of Louisville [Jefferson County] 1993
African Americans in the Bluegrass Lexington Visitors Center [Fayette County] 2008
African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing Kentucky Derby Museum [Jefferson county]  
African Heritage Festival Bridge Kids International [Jefferson County]  
Berea College & Berea College Special Collections  Berea [Madison County] 1855
Black History at Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave National Park [Edmonson County] - National Park Service 1838
Camp Nelson, Civil War Heritage Park Camp Nelson Restoration and Preservation Foundation [Jessamine County] 1863 
Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans (CESKAA) Kentucky State University [Franklin County]  
E&S Art Gallery Louisville [Jefferson County]  
Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [North Carolina]  
Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records - Kentucky (Online) FamilySearch provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1865-1872
Hotel Metropolitan The Upper Town Heritage Foundation [McCracken County]  
Kentucky African American Heritage Commission Frankfort [Franklin County] 1994
Kentucky Center for African Heritage Louisville [Jefferson County] 2009
Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Kentucky State University [Franklin County] 2000
Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives Frankfort [Franklin County]  
Kentucky Histoical Society Frankfort [Franklin County]  
Kentucky State University (HBCU)  Frankfort [Franklin County] 1886
Kentucky's African American Hamlets National Public Radio website 2000
Laurel County African American Heritage Center London [Laurel County] 2004 
Lincoln Institute (Simpsonville, KY) Lincoln Foundation [Jefferson County] 1910
Louisville Civil Rights History Tour, Self-Guided Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, University of Louisville [Jefferson County]  
Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center Lexington [Fayette County] 2009
Muhammad Ali Center Louisville [Jefferson County] 2005
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Cincinnati, Ohio 2004
National Underground Railroad Museum in the Bierbower House Maysville [Mason County] 1994
Roots and Heritage Festival Lexington Roots & Heritage Festival [Fayette County] 1989
Simmons College of Kentucky (HBCU) Louisville [Jefferson County] 1879
Slave Deeds, Slaves in wills, Emancipation Papers, Colored Marriages, etc.  County Clerk Offices in Kentucky (120)  
Western Branch Library Louisville Free Public Library [Jefferson County] 1905
West Kentucky African American Heritage Center Historic Russellville [Logan County]  

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Lake Barkley African American Heritage Weekend (Cadiz, KY)
Start Year : 2007
The first "Tribute to African American Heritage Weekend" was held August 10-11, 2007, at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz, KY. The celebration focused on the the history and contributions of African Americans in Western Kentucky and included a tour of Cherokee Park in Kenlake State Resort Park. The event was also referred to as an Emancipation Day celebration. For more see "Lake Barkley State Resort Park To Hold First Tribute To African American Heritage Weekend Aug. 10-11", 07/08/2007, press release at website, and News-Democrat & Leader, 08/10/2007, News section, p. A3; and D. Chester, "Emancipation Day important to Blacks," The Leaf-Chronicle, 07/08/2007, Opinion section, p. 2C.
Subjects: Parks & Resorts, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Cadiz, Trigg County, Kentucky

Paducah (KY) Emancipation Day Reunion
August 8 is noted as the day when Western Kentucky African Americans learned that slavery had ended and therefore is a day of celebration for families in Paducah, KY. In 2005, the Emancipation celebration was held in conjunction with the Ware Pettigrew family reunion. Events include the Emancipation Day Parade. For more see G. Thomas, "Kentucky Emancipation Day Reunion," News Channel 6 (NBC), 08/06/2005; and for the 2008 celebration, see A. Shull, "Eighth of August focuses on churches," Paducah Sun, 08/03/08, State and regional section.

Subjects: Freedom, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Penny, Joe [Pennytown, Missouri]
Birth Year : 1812
Pennytown was located eight miles southeast of Marshall, Missouri; it had been established by Kentucky native and ex-slave, Joe Penny. In 1850, Penny arrived in Missouri, and in the 1860s he purchased eight acres for $160. He settled on a portion of the land and further divided the remainder into lots that were sold to other African American settlers. Joe Penny had come to Missouri as the slave of Jackson Bristol, and later became a free man. He married Harriett Butler, born 1815 in Virginia. In 1880, the Pennys were a family of seven that included Harriett's children and grandchildren, and Joe was a farmer, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The Pennytown community continued to grow as adjoining land was purchased by other African Americans. By 1900, 40 families lived in the 64-acre community with a total population of 200. There were two churches, lodges, a school and a store. The community ceased growing after a few decades, and families began to leave Pennytown for better jobs and educational opportunities in nearby cities. The last family left in 1943, and the older residents left behind eventually died. Today, the one remaining building is the First Freewill Baptist Church. Every year a reunion of Pennytown descendants is held at the church, a tradition that began at the end of World War II. The compiler of the community history collection was Josephine Jackson Lawrence (1929 - 1992); the collection is housed in the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection - Columbia at the University of Missouri. See also Pennytown, by the Friends of Pennytown.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Migration West, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Pennytown, Saline County, Missouri (no longer exists)

Sears, George
Birth Year : 1847
Death Year : 1907
The following information comes from "Historic Joplin: George Sears, first Negro in Murphysburg, is dead." George Sears is still recognized as the first African American in Murphysburg, MO. Sears is said to have been born in Louisville, KY, in 1847. He was a young man when he came to Joplin and worked as a miner. When he no longer worked in the mines, George Sears was employed as a janitor at the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a member of the Baptist Church. He also belonged to the Knights of Pythias and was a Mason. He attended and gave speeches at Republican Conventions, and was known as a good barbeque cook. According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, George Sears, a lead miner, was the husband of Martha (b. 1856) and the father of Emma (b. 1872), Lucy (b. 1874), and Ralph Sears (b. 1880). His wife Martha was born in Tennessee, their daughter Emma in Kansas, and the other two children in Missouri. The family lived on Kentucky Avenue. According to the Joplin website, George Sears married again in 1885 and had a third daughter. George Sears was active in the community and helped organize the 1891 Emancipation Day Celebration [source: "A Grand Day!," The Southern Argus, 09/10/1891, p. 1, column 3]. Sears was the president of Officers of the Day and co-chairman of the Soliciting Committee. George S. Sears is listed in the city directory as a colored janitor who lived at 112 Pearl Street in Joplin, MO [source: p. 381 of Hoye's Joplin and {Carthage, Carterville, Webb City, Jasper Co.} Directory, 1905-1906]. He is also listed in the 1902 directory. George Sears died February 8, 1907 in Joplin, MO [source: "Mr. George Sears of Joplin, MO...," St. Louis Palladium, 03/23/1907, p. 4].
Subjects: Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Fraternal Organizations, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Kansas / Murphysburg and Joplin, Missouri

Woodson (former slave)
The first slave case to be tried in Pittsburgh, PA, under the Fugitive Slave Law was that of an escaped slave named Woodson. The trial took place on March 13, 1851. Woodson, previously owned by a Mrs. Byers in Kentucky, had been living as a free man for two years in Beaver, PA, where he was a mechanic and a preacher. In the escaped slave case, the courts decided in favor of Mrs. Byers, and Woodson was returned to Kentucky. Citizens of Pittsburgh and Beaver raised subscriptions (money) and purchased Woodson, who returned to Pennsylvania. On August 1, 1851, Woodson was guest speaker at the West Indies Emancipation Day Celebration in Oakland, PA; it was the 17th anniversary in recognition of the end of slavery in the British Empire, including the British West Indies. For more see I. E. Williams, "The Operation of the Fugitive Slave Law in Western Pennsylvania, from 1850-1860," The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, vol. 4, issue 3 (July 1921), pp. 150-160 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Beaver, Pittsburgh, and Oakland, Pennsylvania


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