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Ludlow designated National Historic Landmark

January 30, 2009
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JANUARY 30, 2009

    The site of the 1914 Ludlow Massacre in southern Colorado was officially designated a National Historic Landmark by former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne just days before the Bush administration left office, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts said today.  

    “This is the culmination of years of work by UMWA members, retirees and staff, as well as many hundreds of ordinary citizens who recognize and have fought to preserve the memory of this brutal attack on workers and their families,” Roberts said.

     “The tragic lessons from Ludlow still echo through our nation, and they must never be forgotten by Americans who truly care about workplace fairness and equality,” Roberts said. “With this designation, the story of what happened at Ludlow will remain part of our nation’s history. That is as it should be.”

    The Ludlow site, about 15 miles north of Trinidad, Colo., was where striking miners and their families established a tent colony over the winter of 1913-14 after being forcibly evicted from their company-owned homes. Conflict between the strikers and hired company thugs–backed by the company-controlled Colorado National Guard–escalated throughout the winter.

    On the morning of April 20, 1914, the company goons and national guard troops poured rifle and Gatling gun fire into the camp, then attacked in force, pouring kerosene onto the tents and burning them to the ground. 18 strikers and family members were killed in the attack, including 14 women and children who were burned alive after taking refuge in a hole dug underneath one of the tents.

    “The Ludlow site is hallowed ground not just for the UMWA, but for union members and working people worldwide,” Roberts said. “We have preserved the site from that terrible day to this, and we are extremely gratified that the U.S. National Park Service has agreed to preserve it from now on, so that future generations can learn the lessons of this dark chapter in our nation’s history.”

    A dedication ceremony is planned for late June. The Ludlow site is two miles west of Interstate 25 at exit 27, on Las Animas County Highway 440. The UMWA erected a monument at the site in 1918 and has installed interpretive markers and displays at the site, as well as a shelter where the annual Ludlow Memorial is held.

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