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450 S Michigan Ave, AUD 1851
Chicago IL 60605
United States


Illinois Labor History Society

Purpose & Photos

Purpose & Photos

The Haymarket events

Police violence and a dynamite bomb at a worker demonstration resulted in several deaths of both policemen and workers on May 4, 1886 in Chicago. Eight randomly selected leaders and members of the eight-hour day movement were tried and five were hanged. The real issues of the Haymarket Affair were freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to free assembly, the right to a fair trial by a jury of peers and the right of workers to organize and fight for things like the eight-hour day. Read the full story on page 7.

Changing the world is possible

History teaches us that you can influence the future. No matter what your status you can change the future and make history. If you are going to make some history, it pays to know some history.

Above: (clockwise) Memphis sanitation workers strike for union recognition ending with assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King (1968); One of many national strikes for jobs and wage increases after World War II (1946); Workers demonstration against Wall Street bail out (2010); United Packing House Workers of America CIO (UPWA) strike for recognition (1937)

Going beyond the history books

This booklet will help us understand the incidents leading up to the Haymarket incident. We will also understand more about the many people who chose to honor the martyrs by being buried in their shadow or having their ashes scattered nearby. These people were teachers, milkmen, writers, labor leaders and laborers or civil rights workers. They fought in the Spanish Civil War and for the rights of immigrants. Some were assaulted during the Palmer Raids or by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Some were activists in the election for Harold Washington.
We welcome you to make use of these rich resources which provide students and family members a stepping-off point for endless discussions to be waged. We hope for research papers to be written on the history of Haymarket, as well as other important historical events often left out of history books. Just as important, we hope this information will compel you to take action on issues you care deeply about.
Few in our country know about the activities of our Forest Home friends. Significant historic movements and events are either left out of history books or mischaracterized. We invite you to look beyond the stereotypes of socialists, communists and anarchists...and to understand these activists – their drive for peace and justice, for strong and democratic unions, and to look at the impact their struggles have had on our present-day society. These people had a strong sense of justice for all.

Connecting the past and the present

We were excited about launching this project because of the rich history – the lessons to be learned, the campaigns that were fought, the setbacks & victories, and the memories that are revealed in the stories of these working class heroes. It is through their stories that we can learn how to forge ahead. For these reasons, this cemetery is sacred ground for millions of people around the world!