Readers share family histories, memories of Ludlow
"Bloody Ludlow," Alan Prendergast, April 17
I used to read Westword but seldom pick it up anymore. "Bloody Ludlow" caught my attention. My mother's family is from Trinidad. My great-grandfather settled in Trinidad in 1880 after emigrating from Glasgow, Scotland. He worked as a coal miner and was a striker at the time of the Ludlow Massacre. My grandmother, who was born in Trinidad in 1896, was eighteen years old during the bloody conflict. She talked about that time, and although her sympathies obviously lay with her father and the striking coal miners, she didn't care for many of the "outsiders," as she called them, with their own radical political agendas.
When I began the piece, I half-expected some left-wing screed, but I was pleasantly surprised. Your article was a well-written, balanced and disinterested (in the true sense of that word) essay. I've read numerous books on Ludlow, beginning with Out of the Depths, by Trinidad native Barron Beshoar. I agree with you that the best written — and, for me, the most moving — account was Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre, by Zeese Papanikolas.
Alan Prendergast's Ludlow piece was clearly well researched; as usual, it is comprehensive and objective and, as the headline says, "worth remembering."
However, I wonder how many people care about the lessons of Ludlow as long as they can get cheap electronics and cheap clothing produced by slave labor in deadly sweatshop conditions in southeast Asia. Who is interested that African immigrants in Denver are struggling against a French multi-national corporation to get a union contract and earn a living wage?
Reading the sidebar on media coverage, it appears not much has changed at the Denver Post in the last hundred years. While continuing to be virulently anti-labor, the publication suppresses, ignores and exaggerates important news stories.
Thanks for the article on Ludlow and a reminder of our state's history. My grandfather was a union organizer for the UMWA and went to Ludlow after the massacre to defend the rights of miners. My family on both sides came to Colorado and worked the mines for most of their lives, and the one thing that resonated with them was that Rockefeller was a criminal, not a philanthropist (I was reminded of this every time his name came up), and became wealthy from the slavery of coal miners and their families. My father retired from the Eagle Mine in Boulder County in the late 1980s but still told stories of the hard times he endured before the union.
I've read many accounts of what took place at Ludlow. Some of my ancestors were miners in Colorado, and so it's personal. Thank you for your story commemorating the 100th anniversary. It is one of the best that I've read on this subject, and truly captures what happened in that horrible time.