On a recent episode of History is Revolting we discussed the life of José Villa, who was described in one newspaper as “one of the principal Spanish organizers” in the lead-up to the 1927-28 Colorado coal miners strike (led by the Industrial Workers of the World–IWW). Rather than provide a detailed summary of what we talked about (scroll to the bottom to listen to the episode), we present here some of the primary documents that informed our discussion.
On January 12, 1928, an immigrant coal miner and ‘Wobbly’ organizer named Clemente Chavez was shot in the head by an unknown Colorado state police officer. During two episodes of our radio show History is Revolting we talked about Clemente Chavez, and the various events that occurred on January 12, 1928, that culminated in Chavez’ murder inside the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union hall. We also talked about the life of Chavez, and we examined a number of primary documents to explore his background in Mexico and his life as an immigrant miner in Colorado. Rather than provide a complete retelling of these episodes, we present here a sampling of some of the primary documents that tell the story of Chavez’ life.