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Participant in "Salt of the Earth" strike to speak at New Mexico State

Labor activist Lorenzo Torrez will speak at New Mexico State University's Branson Library about his participation in the 1950-52 "Salt of the Earth" labor strike.



Labor activist Lorenzo Torrez will speak at New Mexico State University's Branson Library at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15. He was a participant in the 1950-52 "Salt of the Earth" strike in Hurley, N.M. (Courtesy photo.)

The presentation, sponsored by the University Library, will include Torrez's talk on the second floor of Branson Library at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, followed by a screening of the 1954 film "Salt of the Earth" about the Empire Zinc Strike in Hurley, N.M. A library Special Collections exhibit highlighting local involvement in the film, based on Torrez's papers and local newspapers, will be available for viewing.

Born in Gila, N.M., Torrez began working in mining camps at 16 and continued mining for 25 years. In 1950, his unit of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union went on strike for better wages and working conditions from the Empire Zinc Corporation. The strike ended successfully in February 1952.

During the strike, Torrez began an association with the Communist Party that continues today. Currently living in Tucson, Ariz., he is active in politics, and with his wife, Anita, runs the Salt of the Earth Labor School.

Torrez has donated his personal papers and book collection to the University Library Southwest and Border Research Center. The papers are available for use by researchers in the Rio Grande Historical Collections and the books will be cataloged for Special Collections.

Torrez will also speak to classes at New Mexico State. His presentation to Janet Tanski's class, "Economic Development of Latin America," is open to the public as seating permits. The class begins at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, Business Complex, Room 106.

For more information about Torrez's visit, contact Molly Molloy at (505) 646-6931 or mmolloy@lib.nmsu.edu. For information about his papers, contact Portia Vescio at (505) 646-4746 or pvescio@lib.nmsu.edu.