Wobblies, Strikers, Vagrants & Other Undesirables: The Bisbee Deportation of 1917

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Wobblies, Strikers, Vagrants & Other Undesirables:
The Bisbee Deportation of 1917

Students learn the importance of understanding context and texture (the social and biotic interaction between people and land) when integrating historical inquiry and spatial thinking.


Kenneth F. de Masi

Grade Level

High School


2 class periods

National Geography Standards

Arizona Geography Strand

Other Arizona Standards


How forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of earth’s surface..

Concept 4 Human Systems

PO 2. Analyze push/pull factors that contribute to human migration.

PO 3. Analyze the effects of migration on places of origin and destination, including border areas.

PO 6. Analyze factors (e.g., social, biotic, abiotic) that affect human populations.

Strand 1: American History

Concept 7: Emergence of the Modern U.S.PO 1. Analyze how the following aspects of industrialization transformed the American economy beginning in the late 19th century:

  1. mass production

  2. monopolies and trusts (e.g., Robber Barons, Taft- Hartley Act)

  3. economic philosophies (e.g., laissez faire, Social Darwinism, free silver)

  4. labor movement (e.g., Bisbee Deportation)

  5. trade

ELA Common Core Standards

Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies

Key Ideas and Details

11-12.RH.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

11-12.RH.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

Text Types and Purposes

11-12.WHST.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific

procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

a. Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

c. Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

d. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

Labor markets and the labor movement have played a prominent role in shaping the development of the United States as a leading world power – culturally, economically, politically, and militarily. The late 19th and early 20th century was a time of great change and challenge for both management and unions. Arizona’s role in this time of peril and opportunity, roughly from the 1890s to the 1920s, can be better understood by examining the events leading up to and following the Bisbee Deportation of 1917.
In this lesson students will gain a better understanding of the relationship between geography and history by examining the Bisbee Deportation in terms of push and pull factors and the impact of forced migrations.


  • Teacher Reading: An Overview of the Bisbee Deportation

  • The Struggles of Labor reading (homework assignment prior to lesson on Bisbee)

  • PowerPoint of 3 photos

  • Photo Analysis Worksheet

  • Bisbee Deportation Documents Contributed by Cochise County Clerk of the Superior Court--About the Bisbee Deportation Documents By Wes Patience and Judy Tritz

  • Bisbee Deportation of 1917 (T-Chart)

  • Historical Events and Bisbee (extension idea)

The student will be able to:

  1. Describe preceding events and effects and outcomes of the labor-management conflict and deportation.

  1. Identify push and pull factors in this historical event.

  1. Identify how this migration of workers impacted Bisbee and the communities that received the workers.


Prerequisite Skills/Prior Knowledge: Students should have basic understanding of the labor markets, labor union movements, and labor-management conflicts in American history through the late 18th and 19th centuries or have the students read The Struggles of Labor as homework.

1. Anticipatory Set: Teacher will review briefly with students how to examine a photograph as a primary source. Distribute copies or use as a PowerPoint® presentation photos #1, 2, and 3. Students will analyze for clues to the issues, events, location or setting, time frame, and participants (including discrepancies and inconsistencies).

Ask students to individually identify and list key questions and inferences they have about the photos. Have them follow this simple guide:

  1. I see . . .

  2. The photo suggests to me . . .

  3. I wonder if . . .

2. Students (individually, whole class, or in groups) are to read Bisbee Deportation Documents Contributed by Cochise County Clerk of the Superior Court--About the Bisbee Deportation Documents By Wes Patience and Judy Tritz. Discuss key points to clarify each section.


3. Then students will complete Student Bisbee Deportation of 1917 (T-Chart).
4. Have groups use the blank map of the US West to develop a map of the Bisbee area: labeling neighboring communities, geographic features, and showing the route the deportation train followed from Warren to Hermanas and Columbus, New Mexico.
5. Have the students write a summary identifying at least 2 push and 2 pull factors (Pull- Why would the miners want to stay? Push-Why would they want to leave?) based on what they know about the Bisbee Deportation. How did the forced migration change Bisbee in 2 ways? How did it impact New Mexico in 2 ways?
The Photo Analysis Worksheet and the Student Bisbee Deportation of 1917 (T-Chart) from can be graded for completeness and accuracy. A score of 80% or higher will be considered mastery.
The map created can be graded for:

  • an accurate location of Bisbee

  • labeling neighboring communities

  • geographic features

  • the route of travel from the Warren ballpark field to Hermanas and Columbus, New Mexico

The summary can be graded for accuracy: 2 points each for push and pull factors, 2 points each for ways forced migration impacted Bisbee and New Mexico. Mastery will be considered 6 correctly answered out of the 8 points possible.

Have students use the Bisbee Timeline to create an illustrated timeline with 10 important dates. Photos can be drawn or downloaded from the Internet.
Bisbee Deportation Documents courtesy of Cochise County Clerk of the Superior Court.
Photographs used in photo analysis (as pdf, jpg, or png) are provided courtesy of the Arizona Historical Society – Tucson or are the property of the author; permission is granted to educators for classroom use.
A Brief History of Bisbee by Gary Dillard; Frontera House Press, 1994.
Arizona, a History by Thomas E. Sheridan; University of Arizona Press, 1995.
Arizona Pageant: A Short History of the 48th State by Madeline Ferrin Paré; Arizona Historical Foundation, 1965.
Bisbee, Queen of the Copper Camps by Lynn R. Bailey; Westernlore Press, 1983.
Colorado's War on Militant Unionism: James H. Peabody and the Western Federation of Miners by George G. Suggs, Jr.; Wayne State University Press (1972).

Economic Geography (April 1950); 94-104. A Typology of Arizona Communities by Wilfrid C. Bailey.
Forging the Copper Collar: Arizona’s Labor-Management War of 1901-1921 by James W. Byrkit; University of Arizona Press, 1982.
Hard Places: Reading the Landscape of America’s Historic Mining Districts by Richard V. Francaviglia; University of Iowa Press, 1991.
Journal of Arizona History 18 (Summer 1977): 149-170. The IWW in Wartime Arizona by James W. Byrkit.
Journal of Arizona History 23 (Autumn 1982): 267-298. Copper Mining and Landscape Evolution: A Century of Change in the Warren Mining District, Arizona by Richard V. Francaviglia.
Southwest: Three Peoples in Geographical Change 1600-1970 by D. W. Meinig, 1971.
The Story of Mining in Bisbee by George F. Leaming; Free Geos Library, 1998.
Website Resources
http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=644&nm=Wobblies (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=2016 (accessed 9-1-08)
http://home.swbell.net/lwsumner/history.htm (accessed 9-1-08) El Paso & Southwestern Railroad map courtesy of Lloyd Sumner.
http://etc.usf.edu/maps/pages/2700/2780/2780.htm (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/zimmermann.htm (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/espionageact.htm (accessed 9-1-08)
http://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_Zimmerman_Note (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.america.gov/st/educ-english/2008/May/20080603144734eaifas0.7577478.html (accessed 9-1-08)
http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/histryotln/reform.htm (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/bisbee-deportation.htm (accessed 9-1-08)
http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/wilson/ (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.kentlaw.edu/ilhs/articles.htm (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/history/timeline.cfm (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.fcx.com/metals/fmi/index.html (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/09/g68/cartographyguidestudent.pdf (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/bisbee/docs/092.html (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/bisbee/docs/092.html (accessed 9-1-08)
http://www.georgemeany.org/archives/teachers.html (accessed 9-1-08)
For More Reading Book List
http://www.centerforworkingclassstudies.org/uploads/Documents/LaborHistory.htm#BOOKS (accessed 9-1-08)
Cleland, Robert Glass, A History of Phelps Dodge: 1834-1950, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1952.
Durham, G. Robert, Phelps Dodge Corporation: "Proud of Its Past, Prepared for the Future," New York: The Newcomen Society of the United States, 1989.
Navin, Thomas R., Copper Mining & Management, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1978.
Presbyterian Copper," Fortune, July 1932.
Selected Films on Labor History
Out of Darkness: the Mine Workers' Story
Directed by Barbara Kopple and Bill Davis with music by Tom Juravich. (1990, 100 min.)

Salt of the Earth
Classic 1953 film about a New Mexico miners' strike with most of the roles played by the strikers and their families. (94 min.)

The Pageant of the Paterson Silk Strike
Performance poet Chris Chandler meditates on the 1913 IWW strike from the point of view of an 8 year old boy in a photograph. With David Roe on piano. (2007, 15 min)

The Devil's Miner
An astonishing portrait of two brothers, 14-year-old Basilio and 12-year-old Bernardino, who work deep inside the silver mines of Cerro Rico, Bolivia. (2005, 82 min)

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