Ludlow Massacre was an incident during which the Colorado National Guard attacked and killed several miners and their families. The attack was meant to end the strike of the miners but resulted in many deaths. The fighting continued for many days after the Ludlow Massacre and eventually, federal troops had to come and end the conflict.
The Ludlow Massacre took place in Ludlow, Colorado. It took place on April 20, 1914.
Many mining companies operated in Colorado during the early 20th century. These companies owned the land where coal mines were situated and then hired miners to mine the coal. These miners weren’t paid very well and had to do the dangerous job of mining coal underground which sometimes resulted in death. So the miners wanted the coal companies to pay them well and offer them more rights. When the companies refused to meet the demands of these miners, they joined the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
Organised under UMWA, the miners in Colorado started a strike against coal companies in September 1913. The coal companies responded by evicting the miners from their residences and hiring new miners in their place. They also called in strike-breakers, people who attacked the miners and forced them to end the strike.
With the miners on one side and the strike-breakers on the other side, violence ensued. The miners were the ones who usually suffered because the strike-breakers attacked their tents. When the conflict continued for some time, Colorado National Guard was called in to resolve it in October, 1913. The purpose of the Guard was to calm down the situation but the troops of the Guard sided with the coal companies.
In April, 1914, the militia and the Guard attacked the miners’ camp in Ludlow. At the time, many miners were living with their families in the camp. They tried to fight back but they were outnumbered. In the evening, most of the miners were able to evacuate the camp and escape towards nearby hills. The attackers then looted and burned the camp and killed many miners in the process. Some of the miners were killed in cold blood by the men of National Guard. In all, the total number of miners who were killed in this tragic incident was between 19 and 26.
The miners under, organized under UMWA, were outraged at this violence. They decided to arm themselves and started attacking different mines, killing the company guards and torching the buildings of the coal companies. The coal companies also brought in hundreds more militia men to fight the miners. The ensuing violence ranged for a long time and neither side backed down.
Finally, President Theodore Roosevelt called in federal troops who disarmed both sides and arrested many militia men as well. The tragic incident is remembered in the history of labor struggles in USA. Although UMWA’s demands were not immediately met, the Ludlow Massacre brought the plight of coal miners to the public and began a process which ultimately resulted in more labor rights.