Fannie in the Flames
An organizer in the labor movement, Fannie Sellins was hired by the United Mine Workers of America to manage picketing at Allegheny Coal and Coal Company in the Allegheny River Valley.
On August 26th, 1919 during a strike, Sellins ran to the aid of a picketer under attack by guards. Seeing her as a threat, they turned on her with lethal force.
Sellins was shot and clubbed across her face leaving an indent in her skull. The incident spurred local controversy, and although two deputies were tried for the incident they were acquitted. A memorial was erected in Arnold, PA to both Sellins and the picketer Strzelecki.
Mano Nera (The Black Hand)
Pen and ink
The night of December 3–4th 1959, Tom Gallian had been playing increasingly high-stake games of poker at the Triangle Billiards casino in New Kensington, PA. Gallian confidently borrowed $1,700 from a loan shark at the establishment placing it all on a single card. With one flip he lost every cent.
He instantly succumbed to a massive heart attack at the table. After the hand was over he was dragged unceremoniously out on to Barnes Street so the death certificate wouldn’t implicated the casino.
This and many other incidences were the normal part of life in the hay-day of organized crime in New Kensington. The Mannarino family started with illegal stills during Prohibition and grew into gambling, extortion (also known as “black hand”), and other profitable endeavors. Sammy and Kelly Mannarino worked their way up in the family business to run a successful operations for decades.