La Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area of Alamosa and a $193,361 grant from the Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF) of Denver for 2019-2021. The Antonito Town Council has also donated $2,000. These and other member donated funds will be used to begin the interior and exterior restoration and rehabilitation of its Concilio Superior headquarters building in Antonito, Colorado built in 1925. In addition to other proposals, a GoFundMe page at has been established to raise $64,500 in matching funds for this grant. See https://www.gofundme.com/spmdtu-building-restoration-fund.
The original SPMDTU meeting hall, located on the west side of Antonito’s main street, is listed in the State Register of Historic Properties and the National Register of Historic Places in the areas of Ethnic Heritage and Social History. In 2016, the SPMDTU received grants from the Colorado State Historical Fund and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area of Alamosa to develop architectural and construction documents for the building. These new grants will provide the funds to begin the actual restoration and rehabilitation of the building which will take several years.
The SPMDTU is the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in Antonito, a small town in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado next to the New Mexico state line, by Celedonio Mondragón and six others to fight discrimination in the fields, mining industry, and railroads. Also to defend their property rights.
After World War II the SPMDTU had more than 1,500 members. The SPMDTU had concilios locales (local councils or chapters) in 36 towns in northern New Mexico, three towns in Utah and 41 towns in Colorado. They were numbered in order of their founding. Those in Colorado included the following: No. 1 Antonito, No. 2 Capulin, No. 3 Mogote, No. 4 Saguache, No. 5 Ortiz, No. 6 La Isla, No. 7 Los Sauces/Salida, (later became No. 7 in Denver), No. 8 Del Norte, No. 8 Los Valdezes, No. 10 La Jara, No.11 Fort Garland, No. 12 Del Norte/Nos. 8, 30, No. 15 Center/No 41, No. 16 La Garita, No. 17 Lobatos, No. 18 La Jara, No. 19 Alamosa, No. 20 Oak View, No. 21 Ignacio, No. 22 Conejos, No. 24 Pagosa Springs, No. 27 Monte Vista, No. 28 San Pablo, No. 29 Los Pinos/Valle, No. 30 Del Norte, No. 31 Chama, No. 32 Fort Collins, No. 34 Pagosa Springs, No. 35 Durango, No. 36 Montrose, No. 41 Center, No. 45 McPhee, No. 48 Aguilar, No. 49 San Luis, No. 50 Cañon, No. 52 Leadville, No. 54 Garcia, No. 60 Brighton and No. 60 Walsenburg. The three concilios locales in Utah were: No. 59 Clearfield, No. 61 Odgen and No. 63 in Salt Lake City (see page 151-152 of La Sociedad: Guardians of Hispanic Culture along the Río Grande).
Towns in New Mexico that had concilios locales include: No. 4 Rodarte, No. 9 La Madera/ Vallecitos, No. 10 San Miguel, No. 11 Las Tusas, No. 12 Costilla, No. 13 Ojo Caliente, No. 14 El Rito, No. 15 Placitas, No. 18 Ranchos de Taos, No. 20 Ranchos de Taos No. 21 Española Valley ((Española, Alcalde, Velarde, Lyden), No. 23 Lumberton, No. 24 No Agua/ Tres Piedras, No. 25 Chama, No. 26 Española, No. 29 Los Pinos, No. 30 Chamita, No. 30 Ratón and Dawson, No. 32 Arroyo Hondo, No. 33 Las Cruces, No. 34 Chamita, No. 37 Rosa, No. 38 Tierra Amarilla, No. 39 Alcalde, No. 40 Velarde, No. 42 Arroyo Seco, No. 43 Cerro, No. 44 Questa, No. 45 Dulce, No. 46 Embudo/Dixon, No. 53 Taos, No. 57 Nambé, No. 58 Peñasco, No. 63 Amalia, and No. 64 Lyden.
The SPMDTU began as a mutual aid organization that sought, through non-violent actions, to combat the exploitation of Hispanic workers by land barons, mine owners, and the railroads. Today, the organization is still active. Its concilios locales conduct monthly meetings and functions, in order to further the organization’s vision.
For more information visit the SPMDTU website at www.spmdtu.org and see La Sociedad: Guardians of Hispanic Culture along the Río Grande, written by José A. Rivera, a SPMDTU member and University of New Mexico Professor and published out of the University of New Mexico Press.