Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre

Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre

Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre

Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre

Synopsis

Louis Tikas was a union organizer killed in the battle between striking coal miners and state militia in Ludlow, Colorado, in 1914. In Buried Unsung he stands for a whole generation of immigrant workers who, in the years before World War I, found themselves caught between the realties of industrial America and their aspirations for a better life.

Excerpt

Every American traveling in Greece has met them: the gnarled, durable old men in dark suits who rise from their coffeehouse chairs or from their benches in the public square and come forward and make themselves known when a visibly-American stranger appears. I have been greeted by them under the orange trees in the sun-whitened square of Sparta, on the dock at Khalkis on Euboea, in the nightingale-haunted grove among the ruins of Olympia. They are grave and friendly, their characteristic Greek xenophilia enhanced by a certain controlled eagerness. In English, they tell you that they have spent many years in America. They wonder if you know their cousin Joe Kosmos in Joliet, Illinois, or if by chance you come from Paterson, New Jersey, or Denver, Colorado, places where they have lived and have friends.

They are never pests, they don't hold you with their skinny hands. But they have an air of remote and diffident hunger; they are like the shades that Odysseus summoned with the black blood of sacrificed sheep; they ask word of the world they went out to as young men, lost themselves in, and now have returned from, doubly lost. They take pride in greeting you in your own language--you sense that this proficiency gives them status and authenticity. They tell you scraps of their experience in America, places they have seen. They are assiduous to give you the directions they hope you need. When you must go, they part from you with visible reluctance and go back among the coffeehouse sitters or the sitters in the shade of the square, no more fully . . .

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