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Haymarket riot Created By. BRANDON FLOWERS. · On May 4, 1886, a bomb went off in Chicago that ignited one of the nation's first red scares. The blast killed seven police officers and led to the hanging of four anarchists accused of plotting the attack.

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· On May 4, 1886, a bomb went off in Chicago that ignited one of the nation's first red scares. The blast killed seven police officers and led to the hanging of four anarchists accused of plotting the attack.


On Saturday May 1 rallies were held throughout the United States. There were an estimated 10,000 demonstrators in New York and 11,000 in Detroit. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin some 12,000 workers turned out. Four days later, Wisconsin National Guard troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing seven people in what came to be known as the Bay View Massacre. The biggest rally was in Chicago, where an estimated 90,000 people participated. Albert Parsons was an anarchist and founder of the International Working People's Association. He and his wife Lucy Parsons along with their seven children led marchers down Michigan Avenue. Over the next few days an estimated 350,000 workers nationwide went on strike at 1,200 factories


On May 3 striking workers in Chicago met near the McCormickHarvesting Machine Co. plant. A fight broke out when replacement workers attempted to cross the picket lines. Chicago police intervened and attacked the strikers, killed four and wounded several others, sparking outrage in the city's working community.


Local anarchists quickly printed and distributed fliers calling for a rally the following day at Haymarket Square (also called the Haymarket), which at the time was a bustling commercial center near the corner of Randolph Street and Des Plaines Street in what was later called Chicago's West Loop. These fliers alleged police had murdered the strikers on behalf of business interests and urged workers to seek justice. One surviving flyer printed in both German and English contains the words "Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force.

A memorial service is held for those whom died in the riot. (LEFT)

Through much of the 1870's and 1880's Chicago was a leading center of labor activism and radical thought. Early in 1886 labor unions were beginning a movement for an eight-hour day. Union activists called a one day general strike in Chicago.
On May 1 many Chicago workers struck for shorter hours. An active group of radicals and anarchists became involved in the campaign. Two days later a shooting and one death occurred during a riot at the McCormick Reaper plant when police tangled with the strikers.
  • (This tomb stone is a victim that died during the riot.)


  • What is the legacy of Haymarket? Does it still resonate today?
  • Haymarket resonates today more than it has at any other time in recent years. The original Haymarket affair of 1886 was part and parcel of a massive, national May Day rally and strike led, by and large, by America's immigrant workers. Today, precisely 120 years later, the May 1, 2006 Immigrant General Strike -- also known as the "Day without Immigrants" and the "Great American Boycott" -- looks set to inherit and reinvigorate the legacy of Haymarket. Then, as now, employers launched an aggressive drive to undermine wages and living standards. In 1886 workers from around the world responded with an aggressive campaign of their own: an international movement for less work and more pay.