+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy
Science

Dive into these 19 gorgeous, award winning photos showcasing life under the sea

Underwater life is weird and wonderful.

nature, sharks, competition, photography
©Renee Capozzola/UPY 2018.

A healthy shark population swims at sunset in Moorea, French Polynesia.

Heads up, Ariel: There's something positively mind-blowing going on under the sea.

These absolutely gorgeous photographs once made a big splash in the international Underwater Photographer of the Year competition for 2018. The annual contest showcases more than 100 of the world's best photos captured in oceans, lakes, rivers, and even swimming pools. With winners in 11 categories, including portraits, wide-angle, and wrecks, the competition brings out seasoned professionals and rising stars in this beautiful — albeit somewhat soggy — hobby.


Underwater photography greats Peter Rowlands, Martin Edge, and Alex Mustard judged more than 5,000 entries to crown the winners. Here are 19 of the best, including Tobias Friedrich's "Cycle War," the image named photograph of the year.

1. Just when you thought you'd seen every fish in the sea...

fish, underwater, award winner, nature

Two fighting anthias in Tulamben, Bali.

©Anders Nyberg/UPY 2018

2. ... something swims by and surprises you.

grouper, reefs, oceans, award winner

A juvenile grouper hides inside a pink sponge in the Jardines de la Reina reefs on the south coast of Cuba.

©Nicholas More/UPY 2018

3. Like, really surprises you.

Get a room you two!

blennies, kissing, fighting fish, exhibit

Actually, these tompot blennies aren't kissing; they're in a fierce battle in Swanage Pier, U.K.

©Henley Spires/UPY 2018.

4. It's bold and colorful down there.

wrasse fish, The United Kingdom, oceans, award winner

A male corkwing wrasse appears in Bovisand Harbor, Plymouth, U.K.

©Kirsty Andrews/UPY 2018

5. Busy and beautiful too. (Even when it's a bit intimidating.)

sand tiger sharks, docile, North Carolina, Ocean

The underbelly of a docile sand tiger shark and a large school of "bait fish" in North Carolina.

©Tanya Houppermans/UPY 2018

6. And on its best days, underwater life is a weird and wonderful combination of all of the above.

Haven't we all been stuck inside a jellyfish at one point in our lives? Hang in there, buddy.

Phillippines, Darwinism, ecosystem, environment

A juvenile trevally is wedged between the tentacles and bell of a jellyfish in Janao Bay, Philippines.

©Scott Gutsy Tuason/UPY 2018

7. The photographers were able to capture some totally delightful surprises...

crabs, Finland, rivers, nature, photography competition

A crab feeds in the Vuoksi River, Finland.

©Mika Saareila/UPY 2018

8. ...like this haunting dance of fierce predators...

bull shark, deep sea, Mozambique, geography

Bull sharks swim in the deep blue sea of Ponta Del Ouro, Mozambique.

©Sylvie Ayer/UPY 2018.

9. ...and these graceful, lithe swans that look a little more like lovebirds.

swans, Scotland, diving, eating

Swans feed in the waters of Loch Lomand, Scotland.

©Grant Thomas/UPY 2018

10. It doesn't get much more impressive than this commanding humpback whale saying hello.

humpback whale, water mammals, gigantic animals, Tonga

A humpback whale assumes the "spy hopping" posture in Vavau, Tonga.

©Greg Lecoeur/UPY 2018

11. But then you see this micro seahorse captured with a macro lens and remember that size isn't everything.

Japanese seahorse, blending, hiding, pink,

A Japanese pygmy seahorse blends in to its surroundings in Kashiwajima, Japan.

©TianHong Wang/UPY 2018.

12. There's this sweet sea lion, who could teach a masterclass on the perfect selfie.

sea lions, Australia, endangered, nature

A sea lion poses for the camera in Julien Bay, Australia.

©Greg Lecoeur/UPY 2018

13. And so could this Asiatic cormorant, who made sure to show off its good side.

underwater birds, predator, fishing, Japan

The elegant bird dives for fish in Osezaki, Japan.

©Filippo Borghi/UPY 2018

14. And we can't leave out this "otter-ly" adorable little swimmer.

Asian animals, gentle, wild, captivity

An Asian small-clawed otter swims during a training session before it's released back into the wild.

©Robert Marc Lehmann/UPY 2018

15. Though sea creatures aren't the only ones making a life down below.

wreckage, sea diving, scuba, black and white photography

The ex-USS Kittiwake sat upright in the waters of Grand Cayman for more than 250 years before surge from a hurricane knocked it over.

©Susannah H. Snowden-Smith/UPY 2018

16. Humans can't help but experience the thrills....

surfing, musician, celebrity, Fiji, ocean waves

Musician and surfer Donavon Frankenreiter enjoys the waves in Tavarua, Fiji.

©Rodney Bursiel/UPY 2018

17. ...and chills of life in the big blue sea.

This haunting image is "Cycle War," by Tobias Friedrich, winner of the Underwater Photograph of the Year.

Egypt, Red Sea, shipping, sunken ships

"Cycle War" is a haunting image and winner of the Underwater Photograph of the year, 2018.

©Tobias Friedrich/UPY 2018

The photograph captures motorcycles on a truck on the frequently photographed wreckage of the SS Thistlegorm off the coast of Egypt in the Red Sea. Of this winning entry, contest judge Peter Rowlands said, "It is of a subject which has been photographed literally thousands of times. The artistic skill is to visualize such an image and the photographic talent is to achieve it. Perfectly lit and composed, I predict that there will never be a better shot of this subject from now on."

18. But it turns out humans have left a lot of vehicles down there.

This car went through the ice of Finland's Saimaa lake, but no one was hurt.

wrong turns, cars, danger, pollution

Always remember where you parked!

©Pekka Tuuri/UPY 2018

19. But you can't really blame those people for getting a little too close to the breathtaking beauty of life underwater.

And more importantly, who would want to?

2018 winning images - Underwater Photographer of the Year

shark population, French Polynesia, travel, adventure

A healthy shark population swims at sunset in Moorea, French Polynesia.

©Renee Capozzola/UPY 2018.

This article originally appeared on 03.07.18

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Courtesy of Kisha Rose Woodhouse

Man surprises partner by performing haka alone at her graduation


Graduations can be emotional no matter if it's preschool, high school or college. Something about watching a loved one close one chapter to open a new one just does something to you. But sometimes people have a few more challenges getting across the stage that make it feel even sweeter.

One new mom, Kisha Rose Woodhouse, who goes by @kiisha.rose on TikTok, became pregnant and gave birth while finishing up her college degree. Clearly, determined to finish, Woodhouse walked across the stage at graduation with her baby on her hip. But that wasn't what got people all choked up while seeing her video, it was Woodhouse's partner who stood alone in the auditorium.

The man was visibly filled with pride from Woodhouse's accomplishments when he began doing the Tautoko, also known as the haka. Immediately the auditorium fell silent as the man's words and sharp movements filled the air. Seeing him perform such an emotional dance alone to honor his partner is enough to get just about anyone's eyes to water.


Woodhouse was visibly overcome with emotion when she heard her partner start the traditional Maori dance. While originally the haka was performed as a war dance, it has become a dance performed for major occasions, celebrations and funerals.

"Honestly that moment felt so surreal, it was completely unexpected and the way he expressed himself through his haka really summed up the respect and love we had for each other throughout all the challenges we faced to finally get me up on the stage and earn my diploma. And on that note, our son came with me as he deserved the diploma just as much as I did (he did attend every class while being in my tummy!)," Woodhouse tells Upworthy.

With everything the couple has been through up until that moment, it's no wonder they were both emotional. Their emotions and love can be felt through the video and it seems like just about everyone has something in their eye.

"I will never not cry when I see the haka. I think it's inside us as humans to know that outward display of passion, emotion and strength moves our souls. Imagine releasing that energy in celebration, in mourning or in the face of fear. You would never know what it meant to not face your emotions," one person writes.

"Performing haka alone, for her and their son, ALONE, in front of thousands. This is an existential form of love," another says.

@kiisha.rose One of the greatest moments 👩‍🎓 being able to walk across the stage with son and a surprise tautoko from my love ❤️ #maori #graduation ♬ original sound - kiisha.rose

"Whoa, that haka gave me goose bumps. You could hear a pin drop. Definitely felt the wairua [soul] in that one. Well done mama bear ka pai [good]. Good on you, someone writes, complete with heart emojis.

One commenter had a front row seat, "I was there graduating that day too and this made my eyes water! So beautiful."

It's nearly impossible to watch someone perform the haka without something getting into both of your eyes as you feel their passion move through you. If you've never seen the haka performed, you may want to grab a tissue because this is one of the most beautiful acts of love people get to witness.


This article originally appeared on 3.22.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

A mother makes cookies with her 2 children.

One of the most important parental goals is raising a child who can achieve their dreams. But no matter how smart or talented someone may be, a big part of achieving our goals is knowing how to put them into action.

Far too many people have lofty dreams but fall short because they get discouraged or don’t know how to create a map to achieving them. As the famously prolific author Stephen King once said, "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

So, how do parents prepare their children for success? According to research, it’s essential to paint a realistic picture and to prepare them for setbacks.

A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says, “Rather than acting as cheerleaders giving facile encouragement, leaders ... might serve (others) better by providing a more sobering description of the challenges."


If your child’s goal is to make $100 with a lemonade stand, you should cheer them on and be as supportive as possible. But you should also let them know there may be some pitfalls along the way. There may be days when business is slow because no one is driving up the block. Some people who stop by the stand may not buy anything because they don’t have cash. Others may visit the stand and say they will come back but never do.

lemonade stand, kids goals, achievement

Some kids selling lemonade.

via Canon_Shooter/Flickr

That way, when the child runs into difficulty, they don’t feel like giving up. Instead, they know that it is all part of the process of earning $100.

Simply put, when you think something will be easy and then discover it's not, it's normal to feel like giving up. But if you anticipate challenges from the start, it's much easier to find the determination to work through them.

The Boys and Girls Club of America has similar advice for parents. Children know that adults often set goals and achieve them. However, because they are removed from the process, they may not know that achieving those goals often involves setbacks and unforeseen challenges.

So, when you set a goal for yourself, bring your child along on the journey so they can experience it first-hand. It will give them more confidence to pursue their own goals.

“Be open with them throughout the process, share what steps you’re taking to achieve your goal and be candid about setbacks and changes,” the Boys and Girls Club writes on its blog. “These conversations can be casual, but they show how much work you’re putting in that your teen may not realize you’re doing, helping your teen understand how something is earned with time and effort.

Ultimately, one of the biggest parts of achieving goals is managing expectations. It’s much better to know that there will be hardship along the way than to be surprised by it.

The emotional ups and downs in achieving a goal are perfectly explained in a viral meme called “The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great.” It shows how all great ideas sound exciting at first but can begin to feel impossible when the hard work kicks in. But once we make it through the “Swamp of Dispair,” things magically get easier.

The key is knowing that there is a swamp and pushing through it.

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.


Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.


“It's unfortunately the end of my maternity —ahem— paternity leave,” Remington quips at the beginning of his video, via voiceover. “I only joke because my wife is truly the man of the house. And call me what you want, but I am totally okay with that.”

He then shares that after getting to spend quality time with his family to create precious memories—losing track of time to “watch ants cross the sidewalk,” for instance—he feels “guilty” about not doing so with their firstborn.

“[It] made me realize how many of those small moments I missed out the first time, but I'm looking past that guilt and grateful that I had some time to make it up,” he says.

You’ll notice that during this entire video, Remington is also doing chores. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing dishes, wiping the countertops…you get the picture.

@ustheremingtons I (caleb) am getting ready to go back into work and i am not ready. Grateful for my four weeks plus 3 weeks of PTO, but i feel like we were just getting into a groove and i was finally getting to have some 1 on 1 time with my son. Picking up the house today because we all function better with a clean space and we haven’t had time to do much of it while surviving these past 7 weeks. I do work from home and find that I have a little more flexibility in helping out here and there but i am also pretty glued and have to be zoned in during work hours. I do however have some pretty awesome and understanding coworkers and company!Shout out to @SAMBAZON Açaí 👊 Tiff is an all star: working and stay at home mom. I am dedicated in doing better to help balance more of the domestic responsibilities. #paternityleave #dadtok #dadsover30 #dadlife #fyp #foryoupage #ditl #ditlvlog #maternityleave #newbornlife #newbornbaby #secondbaby #2under2 #toddlerlife ♬ original sound - Tiffany + Caleb

Why is he doing this? His wife, aka “the lady with the milk bags,” has been so stressed with the house being messy that Remington decided to focus on doing all the housecleaning so that she could spend time with the kids.

Doing a fair share of the domestic labor is something Remington admits to failing at their first time around. Spending seven weeks taking on more responsibilities, however, opened his eyes to the fact that what he previously saw as doing his “fair share” was actually doing “the bare minimum.”

“It has taken multiple conversations — and many ongoing ones — to truly master how to take on more of the mental load of raising children, growing our marriage and taking care of our investments like our home.”

Proof that having difficult conversations can lead to better understanding!

Lastly, Remington reflects on how the emotional turbulence of being new parents challenged his relationship, even though he and his wife were good communicators and aware of how much effort would be required.

“I honestly hated how much we fought, how much I felt misunderstood, and how much I misunderstood her…so now as second-time parents, I feel like we're a little bit more prepared. Prepared in how we talk to each other, prepared in how I balance work, life, and personal life, and prepared to just let things go,” he says.

Definitely valuable insights for anyone navigating baby number one. Or number five, for that matter.

Remington’s story stands as a great example of just how beneficial paternity leave can be. It offers priceless bonding time, an equal balance of responsibilities, and more time for much needed reflection as parents begin a pivotal new chapter in their lives.


This article originally appeared on 9.7.23

via Steve Hostetter

A comedian defends himself against a heckler police officer.

Some people just haven't gotten the memo: You really don't want to heckle comedian Steve Hofstetter. He's become one of my favorite stand-up acts both because he's just funny but also because of his brilliant ways of shutting down hecklers and other rude patrons who show up for his live act.

In this case, Hofstetter was in the middle of a bit where he quipped, "I don't like people." It was part of a larger joke recalling how he'd had a bad interaction with a police officer but that he was "still alive" because he was a white male.


Hofstetter was talking about how most cops like the joke but others get offended. His point was that if you get offended by a joke about cops killing innocent people, you're probably not a good cop. Just as he was finishing up the joke, a person in the front of the audience got up. When Hofstetter politely asked the guy to stop talking so loudly, the man said, "I'm going."

He then followed up, telling Hofstetter, "You disrespected me, so I'll disrespect you."

The man then went on a tirade, stealing a drink from another customer and getting into an argument with the club's bouncers. He also got into a shouting match with another patron before finally stepping outside.

Hofstetter tried to lighten the mood, joking, "I think he's mad that the Meghan Trainor concert was canceled last night. Maybe he's all about the bass, I don't know."

He then disclosed to the audience that the heckler had actually approached him before the show, asking Hofstetter to roast some of the friends the man had shown up with, which he refused to do.

That's when one of the heckler's companions told the comedian that the heckler was actually himself a cop. And that the man the heckler was shouting down was actually another cop who was embarrassed by his bad behavior.

"I know to drive slowly when I leave," Hofstetter joked.

But just to make it clear that he wasn't out to give all cops a hard time, the comedian noted that he actually thinks most cops are good people; he just wants them to speak up more when a bad cop does something wrong, comparing it to how comedians call out each other all the time when one of them crosses the line. And that's something we should all be able to get behind without the need for a hilarious punchline.


This article originally appeared on 12.12.16

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.


The early 1900s were a time of great social upheaval in our country. During the years leading up to the Ludlow Massacre, miners all around the country looking to make a better life for themselves and their families set up picket lines, organized massive parades and rallies, and even took up arms. Some died.

It's always worth considering why history like this was never taught in school before. Could it be that the powers that be would rather keep this kind of thing under wraps?


Here is Woody Guthrie's tribute to the good people who fought in the battles of Ludlow to help make a better tomorrow for everyone — you can just start the video and then start reading, if you wish:

Coal Country, Colorado

100 years ago, the Rocky Mountains were the source of a vast supply of coal. At its peak, it employed 16,000 people and accounted for 10% of all employed workers in the state of Colorado. It was dangerous work; in just 1913 alone, the mines claimed the lives of over 100 people. There were laws in place that were supposed to protect workers, but largely, management ignored those, which led to Colorado having double the on-the-job fatality rate of any other mining state.

It was a time of company towns, when all real estate, housing, doctors, and grocery stores were owned by the coal companies themselves, which led to the suppression of dissent as well as overinflated prices and an extreme dependence on the coal companies for everything that made life livable. In some of these, workers couldn't even leave town, and armed guards made sure they didn't. Also, if any miner or his family began to air grievances, they might find themselves evicted and run out of town.

strike, economy, money works, Union parade

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

Union Parade, Trinidad, Colorado, 1913. Images via Colorado Coal Field War Project/University of Denver Library.

The Union

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) had been organizing for many years in the area, and this particular company, Colorado Fuel and Iron, was one of the biggest in the West — and was owned by the Rockefeller family, notoriously anti-union.

Put all this together, and it was a powder keg.

The Ludlow colony, 1914 massacre, Colorado Coal Field War

The Ludlow Colony before the massacre, 1914.

Photo from Youtube video.

tent colony, mining, miners

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

Photo from Youtube video.

families, National Guard, unions

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

Photo from Youtube video.

Strike!

When a strike was called in 1913, the coal company evicted all the miners from their company homes, and they moved to tent villages on leased land set up by the UMWA. Company-hired guards (aka “goons") and members of the Colorado National Guard would drive by the tent villages and randomly shoot into the tents, leading the strikers to dig holes under their tents and the wooden beams that supported them.

Why did the union call for a strike? The workers wanted:

  1. (equivalent to a 10% wage increase),
  2. Enforcement of the eight-hour work day,
  3. Payment for "dead work" that usually wasn't compensated, such as laying coal car tracks,
  4. The job known as “Weight-checkmen" to be elected by workers. This was to keep company weightmen honest so the workers got paid for their true work,
  5. The right to use any store rather than just the company store, and choose their own houses and doctors,
  6. Strict enforcement of Colorado's laws, especially mine safety laws.
calvary, Trinidad, striking women

Cavalry charge on striker women in nearby Trinidad.

Photo from Youtube video.

UMWA, Rocky Mountains, President Woodrow Wilson

Militia and private detectives or mine guards, Ludlow.

Photo from Youtube video.

The Powder Keg Explodes

The attacks from the goons continued, as did the battles between scabs (strikebreakers) and the miners. It culminated in an attack on April 20, 1914, by company goons and Colorado National Guard soldiers who kidnapped and later killed the main camp leader and some of his fellow miners, and then set the tents in the main camp ablaze with kerosene. As they were engulfed, people inside the tents tried to flee the inferno; many were shot down as they tried to escape. Some also died in the dugouts below the burning tents. In the first photograph below, two women and 11 children died in the fire directly above them. A day that started off with Orthodox Easter celebrations for the families became known as the Ludlow Massacre.

Woody Guthrie, child labor laws, worker rights

The "Death Pit."

Photo from Youtube video.

colony, coal country, University of Denver

Rear view of ruins of tent colony.

Photo from Youtube video.

funeral procession, Louis Tikas, Greek strikers

Funeral procession for Louis Tikas, leader of Greek strikers.

Photo from Youtube video.

The 10-Day War

The miners, fresh off the murders of their friends and family members, tried to get President Woodrow Wilson to put a stop to the madness, but he deferred to the governor, who was pretty much in the pocket of the mine companies.

So the miners and those at other tent colonies quickly armed themselves, knowing that many other confrontations were coming. And they went to the mines that were being operated by scabs and forced many of them to close, sometimes setting fire to the buildings. After 10 days of pitched battle and at least 50 dead, the president finally sent in the National Guard, which promptly disarmed both sides.

Union Victory

While close to 200 people died over the course of about 18 months before and after the battles at Ludlow and the union ultimately lost the election, the Ludlow Massacre brought a congressional investigation that led to the beginnings of child-labor laws and an eight-hour workday, among other things.

But it also brought national attention to the plight of these miners and their families, and it showed the resilience and strength that union people could display when they remained united, even in the face of extreme corporate and government violence. Historian Howard Zinn called it "the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history." And the primary mine owner, John D. Rockefeller Jr., received a lot of negative attention and blame for what happened here.

monuments, April 20, 1914, coal miners, revolution

The UMWA is still a solid union today, and there is a monument in Colorado to those who died in the Ludlow Massacre.

Image by Mark Walker/Wikimedia Commons.

This article was written by Brandon Weber and originally appeared on 08.14.14