April 19, 2014

The "Children of Ludlow"

One of my colleagues from the university recently referred to the students as "children of Ludlow, " claiming by analogy that they were being "massacred" by CSU system budget cuts.

It might not be the best analogy, though, if the reader has to look up the source that is unfamiliar. And I bet that 95 percent of Coloradans overall could not tell you what happened on April 20th, one hundred years ago.

The term "children of Ludlow" has a difference resonance for me.

For several years, a colleague in the History Dept. tapped me to be a judge on National History Day. Competing in different age classes, students from local schools might create posters-based exhibits, build dioramas, etc., and then they had to talk about them briefly to us judges as we came around. To quote the website, "NHD inspires children through exciting competitions and transforms teaching through project-based curriculum and instruction."

Imagine my surprise when I came across a sort of poster-triptych about the Ludlow Massacre, created by three middle-school boys. Something local, not another Martin Luther King, Jr., or other high-profile subject!

In talking with them, I asked if they had visited the site. It was only an hour-plus drive away but they would have needed a parent or someone to take them, being too young to drive themselves.

No, they had not. Learning the difference between primary and secondary sources was part of the project, so I said, "Look, the place is a primary source. You walk around on it and you see where things were — the tents, the machine gun, the railroad tracks where the engineer tried to move the freight train between the gunners and the camp . . . "

They looked at me like little birds. Maybe going there never occurred to them; maybe they felt unable to ask someone older for a ride, I don't know. Sometimes teaching in Pueblo was like teaching at the bottom of a well and wondering who would climb up and out.

To Be Continued

1 comment:

yourcousin said...

It is a shame that so few know what happened or see its current relevance. Though almost as painful is the anniversary stuff which tries to find modern contextual meaning without coming across as condescending. I am certainly glad that the memorial is back up and restored after what happened to it in 02. Keep up the interesting posts the more people know the better.