“I’m not a humanitarian, I’m a hell-raiser.” Mother Jones followed her own advice concerning a small town in Las Animas County. The Ludlow Massacre occurred on April 20th, 1994, in the tent town of Ludlow, Colorado, the intricate web of events that lead to the events that happened in Ludlow are a look in to the conditions that some of the minorities and immigrants had to live in, during the early twentieth century.
Coal production had become a driving force behind the United States industrial revolution. Coal was used for a variety of purposes including powering steam engines, iron manufacturing, and the heat in homes and towns. One of the largest users of coal in southern Colorado was the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I). Their furnaces were heated with coal from, he Culebra Mountain range in the southern part of Colorado was known for having some of the richest coal in the state. The coal is glossy black ...view middle of the document...
The only place that most people had for a bathrooms was an outside privy.
Being foreign to the United States, the miners did not argue the meager pay that they were given, an average of $3.50 a day. This was before they had $2 a month used for rent, and the daily supplies that they had to purchase to work. The money that they were paid was called scrip, it was only good to use in the company store. In 1899 Colorado law dictated that the use of scrip was illegal, this law was blatantly ignored by the different mining companies including CF&I.
September 23, 1913 workers left their jobs because the United Mine Workers of America(UMWA), a union, had secretly been meeting with some of the miners, discussing about the pay and working conditions. The miners that left the jobs were kicked out of the company houses, on September 25, 1913. Twelve tent colonies were formed with the help of UMWA, they had donated 1,000 canvas tents, wood for floors, heating and cooking stoves and iron bedsteads. The work of UMWA did not stop there they also paid the miners three dollars a week, one dollar per woman in the house, and fifty cents per child.
On April 20, 1914, Louis Tikas the Ludlow colony leader met with the leaders of the militia. The meeting ended disastrously when shots began to fly between the miners and the militia. It is unknown who fired the first shots, but after the first day of scuffling twelve people had died. Not from the bullet fire but from being suffocated as the tent burned up above them. The fighting went on for another ten days, but the strike lasted through the summer and the fall and finally ended on December 10th, 1914.
The events that happened at Ludlow are now a hundred years in the past but the impacts of Ludlow are still relevant today. Ludlow shows how much people fought for better working conditions. Mother Jones once said, “Reformation, like education, is a journey, not a destination.” Even today people are fighting all over the world for better conditions, it didn’t start in Ludlow and didn’t end there, but Ludlow did leave its mark and should never be forgotten.