University of Arizona

Life, Family and the Arizona Mining Community

A Gendered Perspective

Professor Ochoa O'Leary lived in Clifton, AZ during the copper mine strike of 1983. Ochoa O’Leary was also the president of the Morenci Miners Women's Auxiliary in Clifton from 1985 to 1986. According to Ochoa O’Leary, the strike forever changed the lives of families who experienced it, as well as the social nexus that helped define the Clifton-Morenci communities.

The great Arizona copper strike against Phelps Dodge was a three-year struggle that ended with the decertification of 13 unions in 1986. During the course of events, the women of the community stepped outside the traditional roles that for generations had centered on the procurement and distribution of material resources to families. Faced with new challenges but encouraged by politics of equality, the women of the Morenci Miners Women’s Auxiliary came to contribute to political mobilization that received local, national, and international attention.

The related exhibition, “Company Town: Arizona’s Copper Mining Communities During 100 Year of Statehood,” features a broad range of unique material selected from Special Collections extensive Southwest and Borderlands holdings, as well as Special Collections mining-related archives. An in-depth selection of photographs, pamphlets, original manuscripts, ephemera, federal and state reports and personal papers illustrates a century of experiences by depicting daily life, health issues, labor disputes and political struggles endemic in Arizona’s mining communities. Highlights include photographs from the turn of the century of mining operations in Bisbee, Morenci, and Ajo, as well as original documents, some as early as the 1880s. “Company Town” is on display at the Science-Engineering Library through March 9, 2012

Contact person: