Exhibit - 'Company Town: Arizona's Copper Mining Communities During 100 Years of Statehood'
"Company Town: Arizona's Copper Mining Communities During 100 Years of Statehood," a new exhibit at the UA Science-Engineering Library, shares 100 years of stories, struggles and triumphs from Arizona's copper mining communities.
The history of mining in Arizona is rich and colorful with silver, gold and copper all having been discovered and mined in the state. The first mining company was established in Ajo in the 1850s; the arrival of the railroad brought a booming industry to Clifton-Morenci, Bisbee and Jerome.
Throughout the 20th century, while mining companies made significant profits, the mining workers' salary was often not a living wage. Conditions in the mines were dangerous and unhealthy; many miners developed a lung disease now referred to as "miner's lung." In this context, labor relations between workers and the mine owners throughout Arizona's history have been volatile, and at times violent.
"Company Town" features an in-depth selection of photographs, pamphlets, original manuscripts, federal and state reports and personal papers drawn from UA Special Collections. The materials on display detail the history of eight Arizona mining communities – Ajo, Bisbee, Clifton-Morenci, Globe-Miami, Jerome, Ray-Sonora, San Manuel and Superior – and show that these communities were more than just a mine, and the people more than just mining workers.
One community in particular, Clifton-Morenci, was the epicenter of the Arizona copper mine strike of 1983. Anna Ochoa O’Leary, a professor in the UA department of Mexican American and Raza Studies, lived in Clifton during the strike and was the president of the Morenci Miners Women's Auxiliary in Clifton from 1985 to 1986.