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The topic discussed is the National Miners' Union activity in the Gallup, New Mexico, coal fields between 1933 and 1935. The union, a member of the Communist party's Trade Union Unity League, began its organizing drive in Gallup soon after the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933. By August 1933, the NMU had organized locals in the region's largest mines and called a strike for union recognition. Immediately the governor declared martial law. The strike, settled with federal mediation, was inconclusive. The NMU achieved agreements with two companies and shared union membership in the other mines with the United Mine Workers of America, who had entered shortly after the NMU. Following the strike the NMU organized a branch of the Unemployed Council, the International Labor Defense, and ran candidates in local elections. In 1934, the area's largest mine sold a tract of land on which was located a community of miners and unemployed workers. The purchaser began eviction proceedings against those who refused to buy their home lots. At the proceedings the sheriff was killed, initiating a wave of repression against all of the Communist-affiliated organizations. Their members, predominantly Hispanic, were rounded up, over a hundred were deported and ten were tried for his murder. Three were convicted and later pardoned in 1939. While the NMU was eventually driven out of the area, its activity represents an important aspect of New Mexico labor history.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Colgett Cutter

Second Committee Member

Richard Nathaniel Ellis

Third Committee Member

Robert William Kern



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