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Deadly Digging: The Road to Ludlow

  • Colorado Coal and Iron Company is Formed

    Colorado Coal and Iron Company is Formed
    The Colorado Coal and Iron Company was founded in 1880 and eventually merged with the Colorado Fuel Company to form the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. This company, later owned primarly by the Rockefellers, owned the mines that Colorado coal miners were stirking against.
  • First Colorado Mine Strike

    First Colorado Mine Strike
    The history of Colorado coal mine strikes dates back to 1883, when miners attempted to join the Western Federation of Miners. They were unsuccessful in acheiveing unionization but did prevent a wage cut.
  • United Mine Workers of America Formed

    United Mine Workers of America Formed
    The United Mine Workers of America was formed on January 25th, 1890 in Columbus, Ohio. This organization would go on to lead the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-14, which was the larger context of the Ludlow Massacre.
  • Anthracite Coal Strike in Pennsylvania

    Anthracite Coal Strike in Pennsylvania
    This strike in Pennsylvannia was a precursor the the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-14. Organized by the United Mine Workers of America, strikers sought an 8 hour work day, higher wages, and union recognition. Presenting a serious threat to America's coal supply, the strike was ended by negociations and the intervention of President Theodore Roosevelt. The strikers won higher wages and a promise from Roosevelt to investigate mine conditions, but did not achieve union recognition.
  • Monongah Mine Disaster in West Virginia

    Monongah Mine Disaster in West Virginia
    This event is still regarded as the worst mining accident in history. A coal mine explosion killed 362 miners near Monongah, W.V. In 1907, more than 3,000 miners died in work related accidents, making it the deadliest year on record. This event raisied national conciousness about the dangers of coal mining and the need for safety regulation.
  • Bureau of Mines Established

    Bureau of Mines Established
    The Bureau of Mines was established as a part of the Department of the Interior. The Bureau was charged with examining mining practices and developing regulations to prevent future accidents. However, the agency was largely symbolic because it could not supervise or inspect mines.
  • Miners Present Their Demands

    After a meeting of the United Mine Workers of America in Colorado in which every Colorado mine was represented, the miners presented a list of 7 demands to the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. These included, higher wages, an 8 hour workday, and the right to shop in any store.
  • Colorado Coal Strike Begins

    After their demands were refused, around 9,000 miners and their families went on strike. They were evicted from their homes, which were owned by the mines. The stirkers began to establish tent colonies on land owned by the United Mineworkers of America.
  • "Death Special" Attack on Forbes

    "Death Special" Attack on Forbes
    Mine company guards opened fire on the tent strike colony of Forbes with a "Death Special" armored car, resulting in the death of one miner and the serious injury of two children. The event increased tensions between strikers and the various authorities monitoring the strike.
  • Governor Calls in National Guard

    Governor Calls in National Guard
    In response to increasing violence between strikers, strikebreakers, and mine guards, Governor Ammons called in the Colorado National Guard to take control of the situation.
  • Strikebreaker Found Dead

    On March 10th, 1914, the body of a strikebreaker was found dead near the railroad tracks by the Forbes tent encampment. National Guardsmen were ordered to evict the remaining striker camps around the mines
  • Rockefeller Defends Company Position

    Rockefeller Defends Company Position
    In testimony given to congress just days before the Ludlow Massacre, John D. Rockerfeller Jr., owner of Colorado Fuekl and Iron,defends his policy of non-negociation with the strikers. He states he will fight union recognition at the cost strikers lives and even his own profits.
  • The Ludllow Massacre

    The Ludllow Massacre
    On the morning of April 20th 1914, the Colorado National Guard opened fire on a coal mine stirker camp in Ludlow, Colorado. After the fire-fight, guardsmen set fire to the camp, causing the deaths of several children and women taking cover from the gunfire. The attack killed 13 men, 11 children, and 2 women and acted as a formative event in labor rights histroy.
  • UWMA Issues a Call to Arms

    In repsonse to the Ludlow Massacre the United Mine Workers issued a call to arms to all the Colorado strikers, distributing firearms and organizing attacks on the mines. The fighting lasted for ten days and at least 50 people were killed, including several mine guards.
  • Wilson Calls in Federal Troops

    After 10 days of fighting following the Ludlow Massacre, Wilson ordered 1,600 federal troops to enter Colorado and stop the fighting. Though the violence was ended, the Colorado Coal Strike continued until December.
  • Colorado Coal Strike Called Off

    The United Mineworkers of America finally called off the strike in December of 1914 after running out of money. The strikers did not achieve union recognition or any other demands, but the events during the strike recieved national media attention and garnered the support of several prominent social advocates, including Mother Jones and Upton Sinclaire.