THE LUDLOW MASSACRE
April 20, 1914
(Copied from Ask Jeeves)
The date April 20, 1914 will forever be a day of
infamy for American workers. On that day, 20 innocent men, women and
children were killed in the Ludlow Massacre. The coal miners in
Colorado and other western states had been trying to join the UMWA
for many years. They were bitterly opposed by the coal operators,
led by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.
Upon striking, the miners and their families had
been evicted from their company-owned houses and had set up a tent
colony on public property. The massacre occurred in a carefully
planned attack on the tent colony by Colorado militiamen, coal
company guards, and thugs hired as private detectives and strike
breakers. They shot and burned to death 20 people, including a dozen
women and small children. Later investigations revealed that kerosene
had intentionally been poured on the tents to set them ablaze. The
miners had dug foxholes in the tents so the women and children could
avoid the bullets that randomly were shot through the tent colony by
company thugs. The women and children were found huddled together at
the bottoms of their tents.
The Baldwin Felts Detective Agency had been
brought in to suppress the Colorado miners. They brought with them
an armored car mounted with a machine gun--the Death Special--that
roamed the area spraying bullets. The day of the massacre, the
miners were celebrating Greek Easter. At 10:00 AM the militia ringed
the camp and began firing into tents upon a signal from the
commander, Lt. Karl E. Lindenfelter.
Not one of the perpetrators of the slaughter were
ever punished, but scores of miners and their leaders were arrested
and black-balled from the coal industry.
A monument erected by the UMWA stands today in
Ludlow, Colorado in remembrance of the brave and innocent souls who
died for freedom and human dignity.