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The Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
April 18, 2014 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Alan Prendergast writing in Westword reflects on the history of "Bloody Ludlow."
posted by audi alteram partem (25 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh. My paternal grandparents are from Ludlow (it's a lovely little town, with a beautiful castle and a town wall and everything), and I never knew about this.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:30 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking that's a different Ludlow. I don't think there are a lot of castles in Colorado.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:57 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I am so done with varying fixed position background images that periodically appear while you scroll.
posted by michaelh at 2:59 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


I'm thinking that's a different Ludlow. I don't think there are a lot of castles in Colorado.

Nope. Probably the same castle.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:03 PM on April 18


Interesting! I'm sort of amazed that someone could have family there and not know about the massacre, but then I think I might mostly know about it because of the Woody Guthrie song.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:08 PM on April 18


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
posted by mr. digits at 3:37 PM on April 18


Ludlow, Colorado is a ghost town. There are (were?) some burnt out abandoned buildings including I think a jail, maybe a company store, and some sort of residences; and the memorial. As far as I'm aware, nobody has lived there since the massacre.

The site is isolated and was barely maintained at all before the vandalism. I think the idea that someone went to the trouble to go in there and damage the monument sparked some renewed interest in the site and its history; and I hope the upcoming anniversary and Westword's piece do so as well.
posted by ernielundquist at 3:52 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


The deeply tragic thing about Ludlow is that the whole thing was bloody pointless. There should never have been mining in Colorado. Mining never did anyone here any good at all. If forced to choose sides, I would side with the strikers in a heartbeat; but if given a true option, I'd have dynamited the entrances to every single mine west of the Mississippi and sent all those starvelings back to the East where frankly they were likely to see better conditions even in unemployment. As Bernard DeVoto put it in his brilliant and essential 1949 essay "The West Against Itself": "The West does not want to be liberated from the system of exploitation that it has always violently resented. It only wants to buy into it." The strikers were seeking to buy into a system of exploitation and despoilment; they would have been better off dropping their tools and walking away.
posted by koeselitz at 3:53 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


For more on Louis Tikas in particular, try Buried Unsung. Checked it out on a whim as background reading for Pynchon's Against the Day and was, well, devastated. An extremely personal history of a forgotten man at the center of a forgotten tragedy. Bleak.
posted by Lorin at 5:09 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


My grandfather was an unwilling scab at a mining strike in Colorado (not this one, but a previous one against J.P. Getty). He was an immigrant who didn't speak much english and heard about someone hiring. After a cursory interview he was directed down a hallway to wait with other workers in a room. After a while, the door was slid closed and the room began to move - it was a railcar. When the train stopped, it was inside an armed camp, surrounded by striking miners. They were told that they were free to go - but that the miners had snipers on the hills (who knows). But what the strikers did do if they caught a scab was to lay his right arm on a boulder and break it by whacking it with a crowbar (it prevented you from working). He said he was paid 17 1/2 cents an hour (then booted out when the strike was resolved).
posted by 445supermag at 7:08 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


My Great Grandfather was a union organizer and was at Ludlow. He survived. Lived to be very old.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:54 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


Amazing. I am from Colorado and needless to say this was not taught to us in our Colorado history class.
posted by vorpal bunny at 8:30 AM on April 19


My grandfather and father were born in Huerfano country. My grandfather and his father were miners; my grandfather was born in a mining camp tent city. Many of my uncles have worked in mines, including my uncle who died of lung cancer. That's just my father's side of the family. My mother's side has similar ties.

.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:44 AM on April 19


Colorado is a beautiful state, but perhaps the worst Labor massacre (Ludlow) and the worst Indian massacre (Sand Creek) occurred here. I thought most Coloradans knew about these tragedies/travesties, but maybe I'm wrong.
posted by kozad at 9:47 AM on April 19


Colorado was also run outright by the Klan for a couple of decades after Ludlow. Another thing they didn't teach us in the Colorado History unit in school.
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I didn't know this sense of the word "rednecks":
"(The term referred to the red bandanna a miner wore around his neck to wipe away dust and sweat; it was also a common term for “anarchist.”)"
posted by doctornemo at 11:09 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Too bad about the black type on a dark-red background. Readability should never suffer for design.
posted by Twang at 12:02 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Looks fine on an iPad. Sometimes I wonder if soon people will be looks for ways to request the "mobile template" instead of the "desktop template" for articles like this.
posted by koeselitz at 2:35 PM on April 19


koeselitz, my maternal great-grandfather was in the KKK, the story is that it was necessary to get a job. It's definitely not something people brag about, that's for sure.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:02 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Wow. I know that when I was in elementary school in Denver and later in Gunnison (that would have been circa 1982-1990) we did indeed have "Colorado History" classes, and they never mentioned these things. I sometimes wonder if they've fixed that. If not, it's a damned shame that ought to be corrected.
posted by koeselitz at 3:40 PM on April 19


An earlier article about the massacre by Erik Loomis as part of his This Day in Labor History series.

Also: Why the Bloodiest Labor Battle in US History Matters Today.
posted by asperity at 6:09 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


A good read. Thanks, audi alteram partem.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:01 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Good article. Thanks, audi alteram partem.
posted by homunculus at 12:45 AM on April 21


I taught Colorado history in 1975 and both Ludlow and Sand Creek were included but then I was in Boulder. The KKK was here as well and controlled state government. It was a strong resistance by the Knights of Columbus that crushed that presence. All very interesting how our society has evolved to allow humane treatment of employees from an onerous one.

I believe that every state has some similar stories of how hard it was to be uneducated and desperate for an income but we don't spend much time dwelling on those stories, do we?
posted by OhSusannah at 7:56 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Letters to the editor follow-up: Readers share family histories, memories of Ludlow
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:24 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


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