In connection with the nation-wide strike for the 8-hour workday, which began May 1, 1886, a mass meeting was held on the night of May 4th in the Chicago haymarket. Its purpose was to protest a police attack on Union pickettes at McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in which workers were injured and killed. When police ordered the protest meeting to disperse (peaceful though it was), a bomb was thrown toward the police by an unknown person. The police responded by firing at the crowd. This became known as the "Haymarket Riot," now more properly named the Haymarket Tradgey. The 8-Hour Day Movement was destroyed in the nation-wide hysteria which followed.
Directions to the On-Site Monument
The site is at Randolph and Desplaines Streets, just a few blocks west of the Loop. In 2004 the City of Chicago dedicated a memorial sculpture situtated at the spot where the hay wagon stood, which was used by the speakers as their platform.
Directions to the Haymarket Martyrs Memorial
Forest Home Cemetery is just south of the Eisenhower Expressway on Desplaines St, in Forest Park, IL. Eastbound traffic should exit at Desplaines. Westbound should exit at 1st Ave., Maywood. Re-enter Expressway eastbound. Take next exit and turn right (south). Proceed to cemetery entrance, then take left fork to the Monument.
Tour the Haymarket Martyrs Monument Area Online
Learn more about those buried near this monument in our online tour.
Additional Articles on the Haymarket Tragedy
Govenor John Peter Altgeld Pardons the Haymarket Prisoners
By Robert D. Sampson, Ph.D.
This piece originally appeared in The Illinois Times, July 22-28, 1993.