DMA remembers Louis Tikas

In early October, a wreath was laid on behalf of the Durham Miners Association (DMA) by Graeme Atkinson in Rethymno on the Greek island of Crete in memory of the martyred US miners’ leader, Louis Tikas, who was born there in 1886.



Tikas was a miner who became an organiser for the United Mineworkers of America (UMWA). He was slain during the infamous Ludlow Massacre, on April 20, 1914, when nineteen people were murdered during the massacre, aimed at smashing a bitter 14-months long miners’ strike, for better wages and conditions in the Colorado coalfield that had begun in 1913.

The nineteen people killed, when soldiers from the Colorado National Guard and private guards employed by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, at the behest of John D. Rockefeller Jr, attacked a tent colony of 1,200 evicted striking miners and their families, included four women and eleven children. Some were burned alive.

Captured by the company thugs, Louis Tikas was severely beaten with a rifle butt and then shot in the back.

These murders became a clarion call for the UMWA which branded the incident “The Ludlow Massacre.”  Tikas’ murderer was commended for his “truly heroic behaviour”.

(Graeme Atkinson is the son of a Durham miner and writes for the Gala Souvenir Brochure on aspects of international miners’ history).