La Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) has been awarded a $193,361 grant from the Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF) of Denver for 2018-2020. These 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 matching funds for this grant. See https://www.gofundme.com/spmdtu-building- restoration-fund
This 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. This new grant 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. In the mid-1900s, it had 65 concilios locales (local councils), in small towns in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, including three in Utah. After World War II, it had 3,000 members. 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. The SPMDTU is comprised of a diverse group of men and women committed to enriching Hispanic communities and families, with fund raising efforts aimed at providing and enhancing community services. For more information see La Sociedad: Guardians of Hispanic Culture along the Río Grande, written by José A. Rivera and published out of the University of New Mexico Press or visit the SPMDTU website at www.spmdtu.org.