HAYMARKET MARTYRS' MONUMENT
"THE DAY WILL COME WHEN OUR SILENCE WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VOICES YOU ARE THROTTLING TODAY"
I. The Massacre
Demonstrations and marches by workers demanding an eight hour day took place in Chicago in early May, 1886. Business tycoons, police, and the newspaper establishment were becoming increasingly fearful. On May 3rd, August Spies, publisher of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, addressed a crowd of McCormick Reaper plant workers. Police under Captain Bonfield arrived and fired on the crowd, killing two.
George Engel, Adolph Fischer and other activists met that night to plan a mass meeting for the next night in protest of the killings. 20,000 flyers were distributed to promote the meeting. Although 2,500 had assembled, due to poor planning, no speeches were made until August Spies climbed atop a wagon at 8:30. Albert Parsons was next to speak after Spies, followed by Samuel Fielden.
Mayor Carter Henry Harrison attended the meeting briefly, then left, seeing that it was peaceful. Captain Bonfield disobeyed the mayor's orders and sent his men to disperse the crowd. A force of 176 police attacked the remaining workers - only about two hundred - using a military formation.An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb into the police, where it exploded, killing policeman Mathias Degan and wounding several others. The police began shooting into the demonstrators. At least four workers were killed, and six police - most shot accidentally by their fellows.