The Rock Springs Massacre
One-hundred and twenty-three years ago on this day in people’s history, a fight between white and Chinese coal miners erupted into the Rock Springs Massacre. On September 2nd, 1885 white rioters encouraged by the Knights of Labor killed twenty-eight Chinese workers, injured fifteen more, and set fire to seventy-nine homes in Rock Springs, Wyoming. White miners complained that the Chinese were favored by the Union Pacific owners of the coal mine even though they were paid less. The violence of the massacre erupted amidst the anti-Chinese sentiment in the nation that produced the Chinese Exclusion Act three years earlier. The Knights of Labor, whose members participated in the bloodshed, dominated the ranks of a team appointed to investigate the massacre. It comes as no surprise that no members of the white mob were held responsible for the killings.
Fast-Forward to today. The largest ICE raid of undocumented Latino workers that occurred last week in Laurel Mississippi was allegedly set off by a tip from a union member. The more things change, the more they stay the same.