Bisbee Deportation

Bisbee Deportation

On June 26, 1917, the labor union International Workers of the World called a strike in the town of Bisbee. The morning of July 12, 1917, Sheriff Harry Wheeler and 2,000 deputies arrested over a thousand Bisbee men and marched them to a waiting train. The train carried 1,187 men across to Columbus, New Mexico, and left them in the desert. In October 1917 the federal government held a Presidential Hearing on the event, known as the Bisbee Deportation, but neither Wheeler nor his deputies were convicted of wrongdoing (Benton-Cohen, 2009; Byrkit, 1982).

Read About It

Use the document analysis sheet and the photograph analysis sheet to uncover clues about the people that created the documents. 

Understand It

  1. When did the Bisbee Deportation happen? What other world events were happening at this time?
  2. Why did the IWW call a strike? Why did Sheriff Wheeler deport the men from Bisbee?
  3. Who created the documents above? Do you think they were depicting the event objectively? Why or why not?
  4. How was the deportation resolved? How would you have resolved the deportation?

Explore More

Visit the websites below to learn more. Based on this new information, have your answers to the questions above changed?

For Students

For Teachers

The Whole Story: Nonfiction Books About the Bisbee Deportation

Benton-Cohen, K. (2009). Borderline Americans. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

Byrkit, J. W. (1982). Forging the copper collar: America’s labor management war of 1901-1921. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. 


Labor and Economics