HoltLaborLibrary.org | In September 1913, 10,000-12,000 coal miners in southern Colorado, led by the United Mine Workers of America, went out on strike. The mostly Greek, Italian, Slav, and Mexican workers demanded:

  1. Union recognition
  2. 10% wage increase on tonnage rates and a day scale corresponding with Wyoming Enforcement of the eight hour work day law
  3. Payment for “dead work” (laying track, timbering, handling impurities, etc.)
  4. The right to elect their own check-weighmen without company interference
  5. The right to trade at any store, and choose their own boarding places and doctors
  6. Enforcement of the state mining laws and abolition of the company guard system

The mine operators, led by the Rockefeller controlled Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, appealed to Colorado Governor Elias M. Ammons, who obliged by sending in the National Guard to keep the mines operating. After being evicted from company housing, miners and their families set up a tent colonies in the nearby hills and continued the strike.

On the morning of April 20, 1914 the National Guard opened machine gun and rifle fire on the tent colony in Ludlow and then set it on fire. The bodies of the two women and eleven children were found in a pit dug under a tent where they had been hiding – they had either suffocated or burned to death. Three strikers, including Louis Tikas – a leader of the colony, were taken prisoner and then killed by militiamen.

For more information about the Ludlow Massacre, we have prepared a selected Bibliography of materials from the Holt Labor Library collection. Please refer to the library’s Online Catalog for additional titles. We have also provided links to related Web Sites and Archives additional research. Read More