Labor management relations have never been smooth in US history, but on this date in 1917, they went over a cliff. It was during WWI after the US had begrudgingly entered on the side of the Allies and rationing had begun and there was a great pull on mining to get the necessary metals for the war effort. One of these metals was copper and the Bisbee mine in Arizona was a key source in the US. So when the copper miners of Bisbee went on strike the Phelps Dodge company decided they had the federal backing to take an extreme step. They hired vigilantes to kidnap and deport nearly 1,300 miners and their families and drop them in the middle of New Mexico so that they could hire replacement workers and not have a messy strike breaking.

Sad to say the federal government did really nothing. They conducted an investigation and found the action was illegal, but then the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government was powerless to aid the workers or stop the company from its nefarious activities. Plus at the time Pres Wilson and the country’s leadership were very anti-union – partly due to labor unrest worldwide and the eventual Russian Revolution – leading to the first Red Scare. So there was no real justice for the workers, accountability for the company, or much of any compensation to the workers or their families who were illegally uprooted. Another shameful chapter in US history.

As far as births go on this date: Roman general and emperor Julius Caesar was born in 100 BC. American philosopher Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817. Oscar Hammerstein II, creator of some of America’s best-loved musicals (along with Richard Rogers) was born in 1896. And American national and Olympic Gold Medal-winning figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, who skated beautifully to music like their’s was born in 1971. By the way, Kristi was born out of another dismal day in US History – her mother was born in one of the Japanese-American internment camps in the 1940s.

The Dutch philosopher Erasmus breathed his last in 1536. French Captain Alfred Dreyfuss, who had been a victim of one of France’s notorious injustices, passed in 1935. And Theodore Roosevelt Jr, the eldest of his famous father’s sons, died in the middle of WWII in 1944.