apr 20, 1914 - Ludlow Massacre
The Ludlow Massacre was a domestic massacre resulting from strike-breaking. The Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel and Iron Company guard attacked a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado, on April 20, 1914, with the National Guard using machine guns to fire into the colony. Approximately 21 people, including miners' wives and children, were killed. The chief owner of the mine, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was widely excoriated for having orchestrated the massacre.
The massacre, the seminal event of the Colorado Coal Wars, resulted in the deaths of an estimated 21 people; accounts vary. Ludlow was the deadliest single incident in the southern Colorado Coal Strike, which lasted from September 1913 to December 1914. The strike was organized by the miners against coal mining companies in Colorado. The three largest companies involved were Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, owned by the powerful Rockefeller family; Rocky Mountain Fuel Company, and Victor-American Fuel Company.
In retaliation for the massacre at Ludlow, the miners armed themselves and attacked dozens of anti-union establishments over the next ten days, destroying property and engaging in several skirmishes with the Colorado National Guard along a 40-mile front from Trinidad to Walsenburg. An estimated 69 to 199 deaths occurred during the strike. Historian Thomas G. Andrews has called it the "deadliest strike in the history of the United States", and it is commonly known as the Colorado Coalfield War.
The Ludlow Massacre was a watershed moment in American labor relations. Historian Howard Zinn described it as "the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history". Congress responded to public outrage by directing the House Committee on Mines and Mining to investigate the events. Its report, published in 1915, was influential in promoting child labor laws and an eight-hour workday.
The Ludlow site, 18 miles northwest of Trinidad, Colorado, is now a ghost town. The massacre site is owned by the United Mine Workers of America, which erected a granite monument in memory of those who died that day. The Ludlow tent colony site was designated a National Historic Landmark on January 16, 2009, and dedicated on June 28, 2009. Evidence from modern archeological investigation largely supports the strikers' reports of the event.
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