The Haymarket, Chicago and Mayday (BRHG Talk)

Date: Friday 4th 6:00pm – 7:30 pm

Speaker: Roger Ball (Bristol Radical History Group)

Price: Donations

On Tuesday May 4th 1886 near the Haymarket, Chicago, police attempted to violently disperse 200 remaining members of a peaceful demonstration called to protest about the police killing the day before of two workers at a strike at the McCormick Reaper Works. As the police moved against the crowd a bomb was thrown by an unknown person which killed a police officer and in the ensuing chaos the police opened fire killing and wounding demonstrators and police alike.

In the days following the incident hundreds of workers were rounded up by the authorities and eighteen months later four anarchist labour organisers were executed, another committed suicide and several others were given life imprisonment. The trial was seen worldwide as a travesty of justice and an attack on those fighting for the 8 hour working day.

May 1st became workers day, labour day, Mayday commemorating the incident in the Haymarket in 1886. This talk will look at the history of the events, the strange narratives of the memorials and how Mayday is remembered in Chicago.

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