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View Diary: May 3rd, 1886 - WORKINGMEN, TO ARMS!! (14 comments)

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  •  I am reminded of the last lines of The Jungle . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frisco, vansterdam, dannyinla

    . . . by Upton Sinclair:



    There sits on Des Plaines Ave., in front of a fast food stand, a memorial statue, of man speaking on top of a cart, using a large megaphone.  At his feet, listeners of brown metal clamor, as if absorbing every word.  I'm not sure if the speaker is supposed to be German immigrant August Spies - but historically, as dannyinla points out - it was his speech that started the original riot at the McCormack Center, and it was he who helped organize the Haymarket protest, which became he Haymarket Riot.  All of this literally occured in the alleyway where my dumpster resides, in downtown Chicago.  

    If you came down to my place - you would see many places where the asphalt has worn through, giving way to ancient cobblestone that still lies under many street in downtown Chicago. One can only wonder if those same stones bore witness to the tragic events of May 3rd, 1886.

    •  I love Google Earth (2+ / 0-)
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      vansterdam, daveinchi

      I just saw the very dumpster of which you speak!

      You sure are right in the heart of it. Not sure if you have Willima J. Adelman's "Haymarket Revisited" but it has specific details and address, as well as walking tour info. It's a funny little pamphlet shaped book that I picked up at the Chi Historial Society years ago.

    •  I was there (1+ / 0-)
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      two weeks ago, in your dumpster alley! I actually took a photo of the cobblestone. Do you think that could be cobblestone from 1886?  The memorial is great and everyone in downtown Chicago should walk over there and look at it and reflect on what happened right there. I posted some photos of the memorial (but not yr alley) at here:

      One thing: the book I read says Spies did not start the riot at McCormick, but was blamed for it after the fact. And that he said he wouldn't speak at the Haymarket rally unless the printers removed a call to arms from the flier for the rally, altho some of those from the first printing apparently got out. --- dANNY -- what do your sources say about Spies?

      And danny -- thanks again for the series!

      •  From the horse's mouth (0+ / 0-)

        The trial transcripts are available online - Spies' is here. FYI - "Mr. Black" (not a Tarantino character!) was the defense attorney for the accused - it was his first criminal trial as no one else in the city would take the case.

        MR. BLACK: On the afternoon of May 3rd, 1886 were you at a meeting at the Black road so-called?

        A I was.

        Q Will you state in your own way just how you came to go to that meeting, that is to say what occurred which caused you to go to that meeting?

        A I was told by a delegate or two, I don't remember exactly whether there was one or whether there were two, that they wanted me, that is the lumber shovers' union wanted me to address them on the corner of 22nd or 20th and Blue Island Avenue on the afternoon of May 3rd. I was very busy at the time and I declined at first. There being no other speakers I went out. When I came out there was a crowd of six to seven thousand people assembled on a large square, or on the prairie rather.

        Black Road is where the lumber-shovers met. You are correct - he not only did not start the McCormick violence, he (and most others) arrived after hearing the gunshots. However, it was only a couple of blocks away from where he was speaking.

      •  The other half of your question (0+ / 0-)

        Spies objected to the word "Revenge" in the circular ("flier") that was printed - he feared it was too inflammatory. It was added by someone else at Arbeiter-Zeitung (I forget who off the top of my head - Schwab? Fischer?) for effect. Spies ordered it removed. New circulars were printed - but somewhere along the line some of the "Revenge" circulars were distributed. The police got a hold of one and feared the worst.

        The thing to remember - and this is part of tomorrow's diary - is that the Haymarket rally was extremely poorly organized.  

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