The Mahoning Valley, popularly known as Ohio's Steel Valley, lies at the easternmost edge of the U.S. Midwest. Its residents are torn between multiple identities. Superficially, they perceive themselves as having more in common with places such as Buffalo, New York, or Pittsburgh than they do with the communities that occupy the western portions of their own state. Although those living east of the Appalachian Mountains imagine the Mahoning Valley as being littered with cornfields and dairy cows, the reality is fixed in industrialization and labor movements at the turn of the last century and its concurrent flood of immigration. The area, derisively referred to as belonging to the Rust Belt because of deindustrialization, appears to have greater parallels to Scranton and Bethlehem in Pennsylvania than to the more rural regions of southern and western Ohio. As for the residents of Steel Valley, they envision themselves as part of a...
Becoming Italian American in the Nation's Heartland: The Immigrant Experience in Ohio's Mahoning Valley
Donna M. DeBlasio is professor emerita of history and the former director of the Center for Applied History and the Oral History Program at Youngstown State University. She has authored and co-authored scholarly and popular works on the history of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. These include five books for Arcadia publishing and the co-authored publication from Swallow Press, Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History (2009). Dr. DeBlasio is currently editor of Ohio History, published by the Kent State University Press.
Martha I. Pallante is a professor of early American history and a leading expert on the history of the Mahoning Valley, Ohio. She has held numerous leadership posts at Youngstown State University, as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and long-term chair of YSU's history department, during which time she led the department's collaboration with the Youngstown Historical Center for Industry and Labor. Author of numerous books and articles, she was recently appointed the Charles Darling endowed faculty chair.
Donna M. DeBlasio, Martha I. Pallante; Becoming Italian American in the Nation's Heartland: The Immigrant Experience in Ohio's Mahoning Valley. Italian Americana 1 August 2022; XL (2): 99–125. doi: https://doi.org/10.5406/2327753X.40.2.03
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