Born in Spain in 1898, Juan Noriega was one of the most active rank-and-file Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizers during the 1927 Colorado coal strike. A decade later he was a New Deal Democrat elected to the Colorado state senate. His story has thus far been ignored by historians. Looking at a variety of primary sources including newspaper articles and mining company personnel records and spy reports, we discussed Juan Noriega in three episodes of our weekly community radio show.
On this week’s episode of History is Revolting we talked about a violent incident that occurred during the 1927-1928 Colorado coal strike. Newspapers reported that on November 19, 1927, two “loyal miners” were dragged out of a pool hall in Aguilar, Colorado, and were badly beaten by fifteen “IWW agitators” with ” knives, clubs and brass knuckles.” We examined this incident and found that the full story was much more complicated and interesting than what was reported in the press.
On a recent episode of History is Revolting we talked about Aurora Samson, nicknamed ‘Frenchy.’ Samson was a rank-and-file member and organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Colorado and Los Angeles in the 1920s. We also talked about how the capitalist and movement press portrayed women who participated in strike actions, casting them as “Amazon women” and/or miners’ girlfriends. We present here a basic summary of some of what we discussed in this episode, along with images of a number of primary source documents discussed on the program.