It has been a while since I’ve written a blog. I was waiting for something to catch my eye and spoke to my soul. To be less dramatic, something that was of interest to me. We have endlessly worked on the SER Records which are labeled and pretty much finished, so Xaviera gave me a new task. I switched over to the AFL-CIO collection and am currently creating an excel spreadsheet for the subject files. Throughout this process, I find myself inputting the data without paying much attention to the documents. But today, because of the lack of titles, I have had to go through the folder and look at the content to create a name. It must have been my lucky day because I found a gem. It spoke to me as a history student and resident of the Southwest. The history of labor strikes and associations in the Southwest is detailed in a weekly calendar for 2002. It includes many black and white photographs of strikes, picket lines, rallies, and important figures in the struggle for labor rights. Miners, steel workers, garment workers, men and women, are all featured. Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas are also represented.
This calendar is not only an important record of strike dates and people; it is a reminder that labor struggles have a long history. Some of the photographs are powerful, from an arrest of a woman striker in San Antonio, Texas to male miners guarding the remains of their tent colony in Ludlow, Colorado after the National Guard burnt the tents and killed more than 25 people, including women and children.
It may sound like this calendar is full violent struggles, but it is not the case. Peaceful protests were highlighted also. It is a starting point for anyone interested in compiling a history of Labor protests and unions in the Southwest. It is also a reminder to those who are still involved in these organizations that they can be agents of change and their voice will be heard.
The subtitle, “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” explains the purpose of the calendar and the hope that these groups can learn from the past and look toward the future with hope.