LudlowGreek Americans in the Colorado Coal War

Rosemary Feurer
Rosemary Feurer is an Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University. She is author of Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950 and Against Labor.
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Ludlow documentary poster

Saturday’s session on the Documentary Ludlow: Greek Americans in the Colorado Coal War offered a new transnational perspective on a well-known topic. We had the filmmaker, Frosso Tsouka, who told of how the current economic austerity and struggles in Greece helped to prompt the film. The interviews with descendants of the community that participated in the strike and experienced the horrors of the massacre at Ludlow, where iconic Louis Tikas was murdered by Lt. Linderfelt (and where 11 children and 2 women were burned in their underground cavern) is a powerful retelling of this story. It uses Greek sources as well as scholars and other descendants and observers. The focus on the racial treatment of the Greeks would be great to excerpt for a class.

The film delves deeply into the 10 day war and the Greek working class involvement in that phase, in which Greeks routed the Colorado militia and showed their military superiority in the aftermath of the massacre. Their previous experience in the Balkans war came into play in this class war. It’s the only case in US history where the national guard was completely and fully bludgeoned in a class uprising.

Another powerful part of the film is the presentation of the Colorado Strike song, which never had an audio recording. We hear Greek singers who warmed to the song and it comes across very powerfully in the film. The song is to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, written by Frank Hayes of the UMWA:

The union forever, hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the Baldwins, up with the law;              (Baldwins were mercenaries)
For we’re coming, Colorado, we’re coming all the way,
Shouting the battle cry of union.

Tsouka said the film has made a great showing in Greece. It has been shown widely including on the public television stations.

Check out the filmmakers website: http://ludlow.gr/

The filmmakers are offering  a vimeo version available to conference participants. A big thank you for that!

Link and password to LUDLOW for screenings(English Version)

Link: https://vimeo.com/164340894

Password: coalwar1914