Saturday, February 26, 2022
An early look at the Carrie Furnaces. Image from the Rivers of Steel Archives.
Seeded in Steel

Each of today’s featured stories connects with Black men who have broken barriers and set up opportunities for those who have followed in their footsteps. That said, we don’t encourage you to read them through the lens of Black History Month—mostly because these are not stories about the past.

Rather, they are contemporary; they speak to work and connections that are happening today. More importantly, each story is relevant to southwestern Pennsylvania's story on its own merits. Yet, as it so often is in this region, they are stories shaped by the steel industry.

For John Mahn, Jr., his 35-year career in the mill created opportunities for his family, but the story of his life’s work is about connecting with the outdoors. From finding common ground with coworkers and neighbors to helping others discover the natural landscape, including through his role as a deckhand on the Explorer riverboat, the outdoors has offered him both respite and joy. Read his story in this Profiles in Steel piece.

Often to envision future opportunities, it is important to understand and take inspiration from the great achievements of those in our recent past. For Sean Gibson, great-grandson of baseball legend Josh Gibson, that is a lesson he hopes to impart to local students via a new interactive learning experience. Offered through his organization, the Josh Gibson Foundation, a new Virtual Baseball Game brings the Negro League era in Homestead (which evolved from mill teams) to life for a new audience, connecting them not just to history or one player, but to a sense of place and possibility. 

In other news, the Beers of the Burgh Festival will return to the Carrie Blast Furnaces this summer. Scroll below for a presale code to save on tickets to the event. We've partnered with the event's organizers, and part of the proceeds will be donated back to Rivers of Steel—here's an opportunity to drink beer to fund preservation efforts!
John Mahn, Jr. on the Explorer riverboat.
Profiles in Steel: John Mahn, Jr.
Breaking barriers is something John Mahn, Jr. has been doing his entire life, from his time working in the steel industry to his recent distinction as the first Black person appointed to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. While he understands the significance of such steps, what is really important to him is connecting people with the outdoors. 
Josh Gibson with a crowd of young fans. Image from the Josh Gibson Collection, part of the Rivers of Steel Archives.
Josh Gibson Foundation
Our latest Community Spotlight story checks in with the Josh Gibson Foundation. To celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of Josh Gibson's induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame, his namesake organization has created a new app to educate local students about the Pittsburgh legend and the Negro Leagues, helping them to understand the legacy of this extraordinary ballplayer.
Beers of the Burgh Presale Code
The Beers of the Burgh Festival is going bigger this year, featuring 70+ breweries on June 4 and June 9, 2022!

Each Saturday offers beers from 40 local breweries and features a unique line-up of local food trucks and bands. A portion of the proceeds benefits Rivers of Steel!

As a partner of the festival, Rivers of Steel is excited to share a special presale offer. Use the code RIVERSOFSTEEL for exclusive access to save $5 per ticket to the 2022 Beers of the Burgh Festival. Presale ends on March 1 at midnight. 
Help preserve our region’s industrial and cultural heritage! Your tax-deductible contribution will help ensure that Rivers of Steel can continue to offer vital, engaging, community-based arts, education, and heritage programs for the residents of southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond.