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The Ludlow Massacre of 1913-14 (American…

The Ludlow Massacre of 1913-14 (American Workers)

by Rosemary Laughlin

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In September 1913, members of the United Mine Workers went on strike in Ludlow, Colorado. They had several demands, the most important of which was the right to organize a union and have that union recognized by management. The miners would fail to achieve this goal, but they would hold out over a year, during which nearly two hundred people died, before they would give in. The climax of the violence came when state militia fired on the tent colonies where striking miners and their families lived. Two women and eleven children died in the ensuing fires. Their horrible deaths shocked the nation, raising public outcry against John D. Rockefeller Jr., owner of some of the mines, and forcing President Woodrow Wilson to send in federal troops. Determined to avoid the violence that had characterized federal intervention at other strikes, most notably in Pullman, Illinois, Wilson ensured his troops were concerned only with peacekeeping. The United Mine Workers eventually ran out of funds to continue the strike and voted to abandon it in December 1914. Still, the experience awakened Rockefeller to the need for better communication and relationships between workers and management, and he followed through on a promise to improve. Miners continued to invoke the cry "Remember Ludlow!" as they fought on in their determined battle to win rights and respect for the workers of the nation. They could only hope the sacrifices made at Ludlow had not been in vain.… (more)

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