On This Day
1886 – Haymarket affair: A bomb is thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, United States, killing eight and wounding 60. The police fire into the crowd.
The Haymarket affair (also known as the Haymarket massacre, Haymarket riot, or Haymarket Square riot) was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting, and the bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; dozens of others were wounded.
In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy. The evidence was that one of the defendants may have built the bomb, but none of those on trial had thrown it. Seven were sentenced to death and one to a term of 15 years in prison. Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby commuted two of the sentences to terms of life in prison; another committed suicide in jail rather than face the gallows. The other four were hanged on November 11, 1887. In 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining defendants and criticized the trial.
The Haymarket Affair is generally considered significant as the origin of International Workers’ Day held on May 1. According to labor studies professor William J. Adelman:
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.
The site of the incident was designated a Chicago landmark in 1992, and a sculpture was dedicated there in 2004. In addition, the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997 at the defendants’ burial site in Forest Park.
Born On This Day
1916 – Jane Jacobs, American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist (d. 2006)
Jane Jacobs OC OOnt (née Butzner; 4 May 1916 – 25 April 2006) was an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist who influenced urban studies, sociology, and economics. Her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) argued that “urban renewal”/”slum clearance” did not respect the needs of city-dwellers.
Jacobs organized grassroots efforts to protect neighborhoods from “urban renewal”/”slum clearance”, in particular Robert Moses’ plans to overhaul her own Greenwich Village neighborhood. She was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have passed directly through SoHo, Manhattan and Little Italy, Manhattan. She was arrested in 1968 for inciting a crowd at a public hearing on that project. After moving to Toronto in 1968, she joined the opposition to the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of expressways in Toronto planned, and under construction.
As a mother and a writer who criticized experts in the male-dominated field of urban planning, Jacobs endured scorn from established figures[who?]. She was described as a housewife first. She did not have a college degree or any formal training in urban planning, and her lack of credentials was seized upon as grounds for criticism.
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