Ludlow Massacre: April 20, 1914

During the miners strike of the early 1900s, miners continued to search to better their lives. They began striking by organizing rallies and parades to get their voices noticed. Many died in the struggle. Most remember the most historical clash between capital power and the labor forces in the Ludlow Massacre.

The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company ordered the National Guard to attack a tented colony of miners and their families who were striking at Ludlow in Colorado. Approximately 24 men, women and children were killed in this ambush.

Ludlow Massacre

Striking family at Ludlow shortly before the April 20, 1914 massacre

The Southern Colorado strike which lasted over a year from 1913 to 1914, recognizes that Ludlow was the deadliest and tragic result of the strike which had been arranged by the United Mine Workers of America against the coal mines in Colorado.

Ludlow MassacreStriker family at Ludlow.

The strikers were under the impression that the National Guard had been sent to protect them while all the while it had been planned for them to end the strike by any means necessary. The largest tented colony which played home to over 1000 people, was the first to be hit by two companies of the guard. They fired bullets at the tents leaving many dead or injured while the miners attempted to hold off the attack by firing back using pistols and rifles.

Ludlow Massacre

The strikers then sent out a leader they hoped could arrange a truce between the two but once they realized that he had been killed, they began fearing the intensity with which the guard would attack. They dug out deep pits under the tents, which was where the woman and children were to hide to be safe from being shot. But by the evening, the guard had begun setting their camp alight and shooting anybody who tried to escape. Once the tyranny was over, it was only discovered the trued extent of the damage as one pit under a tent was discovered to be the final resting place of 11 burnt children and 2 women.

The Death Pit

The “Death Pit.”

Other miners then began attacks on other mines by destroying their property and fighting against the National Guard. Little did they know that these fights would cost them the lives of between 69-199 people. It became known in history as the deadliest strike known in the USA.

The Massacre at Ludlow became a monumental stepping stone in helping the American Labor Relations show just how violent the struggle between corporate businesses and laborers was back then. This then helped with the committee promoting their child labor laws and deducing that a reasonable working day consists of only 8 hours.

Ludlow MassacreRuins of Ludlow

The site where the miners lived, is now owned by the UMWA with a monument erected in the memory of the many miners and their families who aimlessly lost their lives that day. The tented site has been dedicated as a National Historic Landmark.

Sources: 1, 2, 3





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