[Arizona Copper Mining History] Bisbee Deportation of 1917 (Wiki)

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The Bisbee Deportation was the illegal kidnapping and deportation of about 1,300 striking mine workers, their supporters, and citizen bystanders by 2,000 members of a deputized posse on July 12, 1917. The action was orchestrated by Phelps Dodge, the major mining company in the area, which provided lists of workers and others who were to be arrested in Bisbee, Arizona.

The arrested were first held at a local baseball park before being loaded onto cattle cars and deported 200 miles (320 km) to Tres Hermanas in New Mexico. The 16-hour journey was through desert without food or water. Once unloaded, the deportees, most without money or transportation, were warned against returning to Bisbee.

As Phelps Dodge, in collusion with the sheriff, had closed down access to outside communications, it was some time before the story was reported. The company presented their action as reducing threats to United States interests in World War I in Europe.

The Governor of New Mexico, in consultation with President Woodrow Wilson, provided temporary housing for the deportees. A presidential mediation commission investigated the actions, and in its final report, described the deportation as “wholly illegal and without authority in law, either State or Federal.” [1] Nevertheless, no individual, company, or agency was ever convicted in connection with the deportations.

Background

In 1917, the Phelps Dodge Corporation owned a number of copper and other mines in Arizona. Mining conditions in the region were difficult, and working conditions (including mine safety, pay, and camp living conditions) extremely poor.

Discrimination against Mexican American workers by European-American supervisors was routine and extensive. During the winter of 1915–6, a successful if bitter four-month strike in the Clifton-Morenci district led to widespread discontent and unionization among miners in the state.

For the rest of this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisbee_Deportation

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