100 years since the Ludlow Massacre in 1914

Published on April 20, 2024, by Il Grido del Popolo©️

Since the autumn of 1913, Ludlow miners had struck for union recognition; the company’s obedience to Colorado’s 8-hour day law; the right to live outside of company houses; an end to being paid in scrip (money only good at company stores); and the elimination of various other abuses common to company towns of the period. For them, meaningful collective bargaining could deliver a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, not to mention a measure of dignity for those men that earned their bread in the darkness underground.

On April 20th, 1914, Colorado state militiamen attacked a massive tent colony erected by striking miners and their families who had been evicted from their company homes, killing eighteen of them, including women and children. The attack sparked a pitched battle. Between September 1913 and the end of April 1914, 75-100 people were killed and dozens more injured and jailed.

The massacre sparked a public relations crisis for John Rockefeller Jr., the owner of the largest mining company in the state, and convinced Congress to launch an investigation into industrial conditions. Nevertheless, by the end of 1914, the strike had been completely broken. None were prosecuted.