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CSU-Pueblo professor details Ludlow history in new academic book

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“Making an American Workforce: The Rockefellers and the Legacy of Ludlow” details early Southern Colorado history. Photo courtesy of Fawn Montoya.

CSU-Pueblo professor Fawn Amber Montoya has worked to combine elements of Colorado history in a new academic book.

In “Making an American Workforce: The Rockefellers and the Legacy of Ludlow” Montoya incorporates tales of the Rockefellers, Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, Bessemer, the YMCA and the Ludlow Massacre.

The book also demonstrates the historical period’s impact on not only Southern Colorado, but also the United States as a whole.

The events and politics surrounding the Ludlow Massacre laid the foundation for the policies developed to preserve the rights of miners throughout the U.S.

Montoya said her book is a compilation of scholarly research done by Colorado historians. It chronicles the labor practices of management, the miners and politics.

It also describes the standard of living for the miners and their families.

Montoya is an associate professor of history at CSU-Pueblo. She was recently selected to join the board of directors for History Colorado and is co-chair of the Ludlow Centennial Commemoration Commission.

Montoya grew up in New Mexico, but spent plenty of time in Colorado as a child.

She said her family took frequent trips from their home in northern New Mexico to Pueblo. The granddaughter of a coal miner, she has always been interested in Colorado history.

Inspiration for her work originated in 1997 when Montoya did an undergraduate paper on Sarah Deutch’s “No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880-1940” while studying at University of Arizona.

In 2009 Montoya was able to begin compiling all of the pieces to put together the elements of her book.

Montoya not only emphasizes the basic facts surrounding the Ludlow Massacre, but also details the personal lives of the Ludlow families.

In one chapter, Montoya discusses the living conditions of the miners and their families prior to and following the massacre.

She also explains the relationship between the Rockefellers and the YMCA in their efforts to improve both the social and living environment for the workers and their families.

Montoya said “Making an American Workforce: The Rockefellers and the Legacy of Ludlow” doesn’t necessarily need to be read from cover-to-cover.

“It’s really an academic book,” she said.

The book is formatted in a way that anybody could pick it up and use it for reference, she said.