Los Mineros means “the miners” in Spanish and is a 1991 PBS documentary by that name documents a half century of struggle for equal rights by Mexican-Americans who worked in the copper mines in dusty desert towns in southeast Arizona.
The mines around the towns of Clifton-Morenci, Ariz., company towns under the thumb of the Phelps-Dodge corporation, weren’t the big open copper pits, they were deep shaft mines, going as far as 4,000 feet underground. They were dug in 1903 as the spread of electricity created a huge demand for copper wire.
The Mexican workers, whatever their citizenship, were given the toughest, most dangerous jobs, paid far less than their Anglo counterparts and refused entrance into the white-run unions. For decades, their protests and strikes were answered with repressive violence. Indeed, once an American militia crossed the border into Mexico to put down a strike there at a Phelps-Dodge owned mine.