• General & world history

      Industrializing the Rockies

      Growth, Competition, and Turmoil in the Coalfields of Colorado & Wyoming

      by David A Wolff

      The two defining moments of Western coalfield labour relations have been massacres: Wyoming's Rock Springs Massacre of 1885 and Colorado's Ludlow Massacre of 1914. But it wasn't just the company guns that were responsible for the deaths of 28 Chinese coal miners and 13 women and children. It was the result of racial tensions and the economics of the coal industry itself. David A Wolff places these deadly conflicts and strikes in the context of the Western coal industry from its inception in 1868 to the age of maturity in the early twentieth century. The result is the first book-length study of the emergence of coalfield labour relations and a general overview of the role of coal mining in the American West. Wolff examines the coal companies and the owners' initial motivations for investment and how these motivations changed over time. He documents the move from speculation to stability in the commodities market, and how this was reflected in the development of companies and company towns. The book also examines the workers and their workplaces: how the miners and labourers struggled to maintain mining as a craft and how the workforce changed, ethnically and racially, eventually leading to the emergence of a strong national union. Wolff shines light on the business of coal mining detailing the market and economic forces that influenced companies and deeply affected the lives of the workers.

    • Local history

      What I Saw at Bethesda

      by Charles Sheridan Jones

      In this edition J. Elwyn Hughes has set the author, the dispute that he chronicled and the book that he wrote, in its historical context. He has also included an appendix that features additional articles from the period of the strike and its aftermath, some of which champion the cause, not only of the oppressed, but also of the freedom of the press at times of politically-sensitive conflict.

    • Economic history

      The Great Coalfied War

      by George McGovern

      "A definitive study of the Ludlow massacre and events leading up to it. This story has much drama and struggle, and it holds some crucial lessons about industrial strife and about how viciously brutal America's capitalists were a couple of generations ago." -- Los Angeles Times "The effect of this work is simply enraging, for the reality that the documentation evokes, both of wickedness and of the suffering that that wickedness caused, is intolerable." -- The New Yorker In the early 20th century, Colorado yielded more than a million tons of coal annually -- hacked and blasted out by immigrants from Eastern Europe living in crudely built towns owned by powerful mine operators. The companies owned the stores, ran the schools, churches, hospitals, and saloons, and bribed the region's lawmen to keep union organizers out. Mine safety was all but unheard-of when in 1913 mine explosions killed more than four hundred workers in just two of the mines. The United Mineworkers' Union infiltrated the towns, and thirteen thousand miners and their families made one mass exodus to establish a tent colony near the rail outpost at Ludlow. Months of fighting between the miners and company gunmen assisted by the Colorado State National Guard culminated in the Ludlow Massacre where tents were set afire, suffocating women and children who had sought shelter in storage pits beneath tent floorboards. The resultant public scandal compelled Washington to intervene, but it would take years before Colorado's coal miners gained union protection. The Great Coalfield War is a part of western history and an especially important part in view of today's declining union enrollments and the national movement to deregulate workplace safety laws and the federal agencies that enforce them.

    • Political activism
      November 2012

      Digging the Seam

      Popular Cultures of the 1984/5 Miners’ Strike

      by Editor(s): Simon Popple and Ian W. Macdonald

      The 1984–5 Miners’ Strike was one of the most important political events in British history. It was a bitter dispute that polarised public opinion, divided nation and families alike, and the results in terms of the destruction of centuries of industrial and cultural tradition are still keenly felt.The social and political consequences of this dispute, which have resonated for the past quarter century, have been subject to detailed analysis and reflection. The consequences for the arts and popular culture are less clearly mapped. This book attempts to begin to redress this imbalance and signal the importance of popular cultural activity both during and after the strike.The essays that appear in this book represent diverse and multidisciplinary responses to the questions raised by the strike and its relationships to a broad range of cultural forms which include literature, film, photography, music, theatre, television drama and documentary, painting, public art and heritage interventions.These responses are organised around four themes that map the interrelatedness between cultural representation, cultural intervention and historical memory. The first deals with the idea of mining culture and pre-strike representations in popular sentiment, film and literature. The second examines the role cultural forms played directly in the context of the strike, as a means of political commentary, activism and fund raising. The third looks at subsequent cultural renderings or reconstructions of the strike and the final section looks at the current process of memorialisation and commemoration.The book draws together a range of voices from academia, heritage, cultural and mining backgrounds, and offers both a historical perspective on the range of cultural activities in the course of the dispute and subsequent readings and re-readings. It aims both to provide a record of cultural intervention and stimulate new dialogues and perspectives.

    • Political activism
      November 2012

      Digging the Seam

      Popular Cultures of the 1984/5 Miners’ Strike

      by Editor(s): Simon Popple and Ian W. Macdonald

      The 1984–5 Miners’ Strike was one of the most important political events in British history. It was a bitter dispute that polarised public opinion, divided nation and families alike, and the results in terms of the destruction of centuries of industrial and cultural tradition are still keenly felt.The social and political consequences of this dispute, which have resonated for the past quarter century, have been subject to detailed analysis and reflection. The consequences for the arts and popular culture are less clearly mapped. This book attempts to begin to redress this imbalance and signal the importance of popular cultural activity both during and after the strike.The essays that appear in this book represent diverse and multidisciplinary responses to the questions raised by the strike and its relationships to a broad range of cultural forms which include literature, film, photography, music, theatre, television drama and documentary, painting, public art and heritage interventions.These responses are organised around four themes that map the interrelatedness between cultural representation, cultural intervention and historical memory. The first deals with the idea of mining culture and pre-strike representations in popular sentiment, film and literature. The second examines the role cultural forms played directly in the context of the strike, as a means of political commentary, activism and fund raising. The third looks at subsequent cultural renderings or reconstructions of the strike and the final section looks at the current process of memorialisation and commemoration.The book draws together a range of voices from academia, heritage, cultural and mining backgrounds, and offers both a historical perspective on the range of cultural activities in the course of the dispute and subsequent readings and re-readings. It aims both to provide a record of cultural intervention and stimulate new dialogues and perspectives.

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