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Elias Baca (1895-1998) | Colorado State University-Pueblo Library

Name: Elias Baca (1895-1998)


Historical Note: Elias Baca was born in Trinidad, Colorado, in 1895 and grew up in Aguilar, Colorado.  The son of a half-Cherokee woman, Soledad Lopez, from Espanola, New Mexico, and Vicente Baca, from Madrid, Spain, a mail courier riding between Santa Fe and Colorado. Vicente Baca was a musician, playing fiddle and guitar.  At the age of 18, Baca started working in the coal mines of Colorado, and was actively involved in strikes and union activity. Baca recalled fighting scabs, protest marches and the women and children who perished in the Ludlow Massacre.  He worked for 66 years as a miner in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, surviving two large explosions and eventually developing black lung. Despite the hardships, Baca never quit singing his mining and union corridos and only quit playing guitar when his hands were disabled with arthritis. He spent his last years in Price, Utah, where he died in 1998.





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