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the Haymarket Affair, a landmark in labor history

(HAYMARKET AFFAIR). Haymarket Affair in The Chicago Daily News

Chicago: Daily News, May 5, 1886

4pp. Large folio. Old binding holes at margin, very light chips. Age-toned.

The Haymarket Affair in Chicago was the most important event in American labor history. This dramatic Chicago newspaper reports on the events at the Haymarket, police actions, rioting, efforts to catch the bomb thrower, the roundup of anarchists, the discovery of the printed flyers for the mass meeting, and the reaction of Chicago businessmen.

When Chicago police killed two men demonstrating in favor of the eight-hour work day on May 3, 1886, activists called for a mass protest meeting in the Haymarket Square for the evening of May 4. Around 10:30 the police arrived to order the crowd to disperse. A homemade bomb was thrown in their path, killing one and injuring many more. Gunfire erupted resulting in seven policemen and at least four workers being killed, with many more wounded. Rioting ensued. That summer eight anarchists were tried and unjustly convicted for conspiracy in connection with the bombing.

“No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. It began with a rally on May 4, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today. Although the rally is included in American history textbooks, very few present the event accurately or point out its significance” (Adelman). The Haymarket Affair is generally considered the origin of International Workers’ Day, held ever since on May 1.