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undergraduate "History of Pittsburgh" course 75 times since he began teaching in 1984. Along the way, thousands of students have heard the man's opinions on just about everything.
His course at the University of Pittsburgh, "Industrial Pittsburgh," is maybe two parts history and one part standup comedy, and he tosses out stats and anecdotes with a street smart bravado that comes from arriving to academia relatively late in his 59 year old life.
Over coffee afterward, he gave me his take on state politics Rolex Watches For Women Black
of more than 60 Pittsburgh millionaires from 1886 (with Carnegie dominating it at $10 million); and I learned of his sympathy for Henry Hillman's relatively low ranking (137th) on the list of American billionaires:
I was sold on the course after seeing a handout he distributed about the attitudes toward Gilded Age immigrants, attitudes that seem to have changed little in a hundred years. Take this long passage from Woodrow Wilson, future president, in his "History of the American People" in 1902:
"Nothing's been invented since 1930 that we need. . Stephen Foster was the greatest Pittsburgher of the antebellum period, without a doubt. . Heinz was one of the really nice so called robber barons. . Frick was the most hated guy in Pittsburgh."
Carmen DiCiccio looks a bit like the Victorian business magnates of whom he teaches, with his spectacled profile framed by a luxurious gray beard.
"How are these people supposed to make it?"
("Harrisburg is anti Pittsburgh, anti urban really"), on appealing the real estate assessment on his Shadyside home ("I had to prove to certain people that Mellon didn't own it") and on how in 1870 people were still fox hunting in Oakland.
Many take a similar line on today's immigrants, who come to pick vegetables or work in chicken slaughterhouses, not realizing that the slams echo those once leveled against our parents, grandparents and great grandparents. As Dr. DiCiccio put it, European immigrants swarmed Western Pennsylvania to dig coal and feed blast furnaces because "normal Americans of right mind are not doing this work."
Is it worth it to learn about grimy city past
This course is for members of Pitt's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, retirees who haven't lost their passion for knowledge, and Dr. DiCiccio figures he has taught an Rolex Watches Uk Sale
His lecture is a kind of stream of consciousness, a stream as meandering as the Monongahela. Heinz, George Westinghouse and Andrew Carnegie were immediate East End neighbors; I had a list Rolex Milgauss Blue Wrist
"But now there came multitudes of men of the lowest class from the south of Italy and men of the meaner sort out of Hungary and Poland. Men out of the ranks where there was neither skill nor energy, nor any initiative or quick intelligence."
For years, he has had a standing offer of an automatic A to any undergraduate student who can find out what happened to the statue of Benjamin Franklin that once stood above the cast iron door outside the old T. Mellon Sons bank building at 514 Smithfield White Prada Handbag St. None has succeeded.
He grew up in a steel town, Hamilton, Ontario, and came down from Canada in the mid 1970s to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He made a living as a commercial photographer for a decade before a scholarship to Pitt allowed him to earn his master's degree in history in 1985, followed by his doctoral degree in 1996. He described his resume as "really wacky," having done primary work in historic preservation for both state and private companies betwixt his teaching.
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