YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Sunday marked the 44th anniversary of Youngstown’s “Black Monday” — the day they announced the Campbell Works of Youngstown Sheet and Tube would be closing.
There was a “tour and talk” through Penguin City Beer and The Youngstown Flea. It sparked a conversation among community members about Youngstown’s past, present and future.
Sept. 19, 1977 carries a lot of weight and meaning for Youngstown. It was the day 5,000 employees showed up for work at the Campbell Works and were told the mill was shut down.
Former mill worker Carl Jacobson said he remembers it clearly.
“It was unbelievable. I mean, the Youngstown Sheet and Tube was such a big presence… it was a local company,” Jacobson said.
Now, 44 years later, the focus is on remembering and honoring the city’s history while looking towards the future.
As a result, Sept. 19 was declared a day of “reclaiming our identity” in 2018. The idea is to reclaim the date and narrative around the closure of the steel mills.
Derrick McDowell, founder of The Youngstown Flea, said it’s important to remember what the city has been through but it’s also important the city takes control of its own story.
“If we don’t plan out now where we’re headed, it’s going to continue that others are gonna tell us who we are and what we do and where we come from, and that for me is just something that I cannot allow,” McDowell said.
He said all generations must come together to learn from each other and keep Youngstown’s history alive.
“If we want to continue to say that Youngstown invented grit, then we need to be reminded of what that looks like. We need to root ourselves in it now and we need to bridge it to the next generation,” McDowell said.