Vandalized memorial to Ludlow Massacre victims restored
June 6, 2005
LUDLOW, Colo. Descendants of survivors of the Ludlow Massacre in 1914 were on hand Sunday for the unveiling of a restored memorial to one of the bloodiest confrontations in labor history.In 2003, vandals removed the heads of a mine worker and his wife from the Ludlow Memorial, which features the couple holding a child. No arrests have been made.The statues were erected by the United Mine Workers of America more than 85 years ago to commemorate the deaths of up to 20 people, including two women and 11 children, after a confrontation between striking miners and state militia April 20, 1914.About 400 people gathered for the unveiling Sunday of the restored memorial.State Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo, announced intentions to have it designated as a national historic site by this time next year.Im so glad they have restored the monument, said Billie Crump of Pueblo, whose aunt survived the massacre. It just devastated me when I found out that vandals had desecrated it. This is a very emotional time for a lot of union people.Griswold & Associates of Beverly Hills, Calif., spent the past year making the new heads at a cost of more than $77,000.Also Sunday, crowds got a first look at a display case listing donors to the restoration and a 4-by-8-foot steel engraving of the Ludlow tent city of miners evicted from company housing as it appeared in 1914.I would have hitchhiked to get here, Crump said.She said she recently came across her aunts trial testimony about her experience in the attack.When I read it, it really brought me to my knees. Ive been involved in the union all my life. My father was a steelworker, so I kind of cut my teeth walking on picket lines, she said.Betty Jane Dotson Rickels mother, Irene Micheli Dotson, survived the massacre and visited the monument regularly until her death in November 2003.I know my mother would have been thrilled, Rickel said of the unveiling. I want to continue coming just to honor her. The monument was really on her mind a lot in her later years and she was still alive when the desecration took place.It really upset her when she saw the monuments with their heads off. Every time we would drive down here, my mother would name off all the mines and camps here. She had lived in them all, Rickel said.In speeches to the crowd, union leaders sought support to regain political and economic power for the middle class and Democrats. Speakers included Cecil Roberts, United Mine Workers of America international president.