History ETDs


Jack Cargill

Publication Date



In the past decade, as more documentation has become available, a growing number of serious studies have begun the process of re-evalua­ting and re-defining the post-World War II period. The Communist Party's role in CIO unions is one aspect of the American experience during this era that demands new inquiry. Party members led some of the largest unions in the United States, and these organizations played an important part in the Cold War polarization and repression. Bert Cochran's Labor and Communism came out shortly before I completed my research, and his monograph does much to separate fact from fancy, but he relies on Vernon Jensen's jaundiced Nonferrous Metals Industry Unionism for information about the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers. Much work is needed to reconstruct the history of left-wing unions, and this study of Mine-Mill's activities in Grant County, New Mexico, contributes to that project.

I have constructed my account around the Empire Zinc strike, mythologized by the film Salt of the Earth, because it was one of the most important events in the history of the Mine-Mill Union. It vaulted Local 890 into the limelight of the Communist controversy, and it exem­plified the union's importance to the Mexican Americans' post-war quest for self-realization.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Richard Nathaniel Ellis

Second Committee Member

Robert William Kern

Third Committee Member

Donald Colgett Cutter



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