Sunday, November 4, 2018

Monuments to the Haymarket Tragedy of 1886, Chicago IL ~ November 2018

Installed in 2004, this sculpture is placed at the site of the 1886 tragedy. Some call it a 'riot' but it was a peaceful assembly (asking for an 8-hour work day) that went bad when a bomb was thrown (by a still unknown perpetrator) into the midst of an advancing police line. The labor organizers had spoken from a wagon so the sculptor chose to depict this in her work.
Some historical information is included on the plaques.
The monument is easily visible from the street and can be found on Des Plaines Avenue between Randolph and Lake Streets.
After the bomb was thrown, police started firing into the crowd, killing 4-8 civilians and wounding 30-60 (sources differ wildly). Seven policemen died, only one directly as a result of the bomb. The other police were killed by what was more than likely friendly fire, and an 8th officer died two years later from complications from his wounds.

The police at this time in Chicago were being used to suppress the nascent labor movement and carry out the interests of the industrial titans of the day. There was also fear and distaste for the German immigrants who were fighting for the rights of the worker. In 1889, a memorial statue of a policeman was installed near the original site to remember the slain police officers. Here's a picture of the original installation.
An inscription on the base reads "In the name of the People of Illinois, I command peace". Seeing as how the gathering was peaceful until the police showed up, many people took exception to this statue. First the crest and seal were stolen from the statue. Then a street car rammed into it. It was vandalized at one point with black paint and blown up twice. Each time it was rebuilt. After the second bombing in 1970, Mayor Daley put a 24-hour guard on it. This expense was mitigated by moving the statue to the lobby of Police Headquarters. In 1976 it was moved again, this time to a courtyard at the Chicago Police Academy. Finally in 2007 it was re-dedicated and installed with a new pedestal at Chicago Police Headquarters at 3501 S State Street. One needs to pass a police checkpoint to see it up close.
The language on the plaques is interesting and very telling. The police were "attacked."
People were happy to wave goodbye to this statue.
After the night of the assembly, hundreds of labor organizers were arrested but only eight went to trial. Anti-labor sentiment was strong and the trial was a joke. All of the men were found guilty with seven of them sentenced to death, based upon very little evidence. Two of the men were proven to not even have been present on the night in question. The sentences of  Michael Schwab and Samuel Fielden were later commuted to life in prison and Oscar Neebe was sentenced to 15 years in prison; the other five were to be hung. The day before the execution, Louis Lingg committed suicide in prison by detonating a dynamite cap in his mouth. On November 11, 1887, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, George Engel and Albert Parsons were publicly hung.
In 1893, the next governor (Altgeld) pardoned the three surviving men and they lived their last years as free men. Schwab died in 1898, Neebe lived until 1916, and Fielden died in Colorado in 1922 and remains the only Haymarket defendant to not be buried with the others.

In Forest Home Cemetery, the martyrs lie together under this monument.
Albert Spies' last words are engraved here.
The monument appears to be visited regularly.
It was dedicated in 1893 and depicts a figure of a woman, as justice, standing over a fallen worker.
The words of Governor Altgeld's pardon are inscribed on the back.
There are many books, documentaries, and other historical documents available on the Haymarket tragedy and this write-up is not intended to be the complete story. It is merely an introduction to a significant piece of history, not just of Chicago but of the country, and to the monuments that exist to remind us all of that history.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Traveling around Michigan's Thumb, June 2018

On our way to Bad Axe for a wedding, our first stop was Frankenmuth, of Christmas and Fried Chicken fame.
Bonner's is Christmas insanity and we didn't last more than ten minutes.
Fans of Elvis and Christmas decor won't be disappointed.
Maybe John Wayne is more your guy.
Lunch was next on the agenda and we checked out the Bavarian Inn first. We were seated with no problem but after 15 minutes without a server showing up we left. It felt more like a tourist trap anyway with lots of dirty tables and waiting customers.
We walked across the street to Zehnder's but apparently a tour bus had just landed so there was a huge wait. The atmosphere felt better than Bavarian Inn but still not worth the wait.
Just down the street we found Frankenmuth Brewery, which was great and just as historic.
Unless you are just passing through, we see no reason to make Frankenmuth your destination.
Before checking into Bad Axe, we drove to the coast to visit some of the towns located on Lake Huron. Harbor Beach was first and has a few claims to fame, the first being the world's largest man-made fresh water harbor, along with an abandoned Coast Guard station and a lighthouse.
Its second claim to fame is being the home of Supreme Court Justice William Francis Murphy (known as Frank Murphy). Before joining SCOTUS, he was mayor of Detroit, Governor-General of the Philippines, Governor of Michigan, and Attorney General of the United States. That's quite a stellar career for someone you've probably never heard of. What he is most famous for, however, is his historic dissent in the Korematsu v. United States case (1944). The case was decided 6-3, in favor of the government's constitutional right to order Japanese citizens into internment camps. In his dissent, Justice Murphy condemned the majority's decision and rejected its reasoning. Murphy wrote that the decision was nothing more than the "legalization of racism" and concluded, "Racial discrimination in any form in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States." That's a hero.
Continuing up the coast, we stopped in Port Hope and viewed a historic chimney :-)
Just a little further north was Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse, where over 100 shipwrecks occurred.
After a drive through Grindstone City,
we made our way to Bayport, home of the Fish Sandwich Festival. What's not to like?
This has to be the best advertising found anywhere.
It was an interesting little town and we enjoyed visiting the fish market.
The next morning we had some time before the wedding and spent it exploring Bad Axe. It's classic small town, rural America.
They still have their old-school theater.
The old train station is converted into a hair salon but the building is preserved.
Pioneer Village highlights some of the town's roots, but it's not open often.
The best part of Bad Axe has to be the "bad axe." Besides containing excessive, funny signage, the library holds the alleged, original bad axe that gave the town its name.
The reason we made this trip was for the wedding of Mary Alice Walker and here are a few photos from that on what was a 90 degree plus day.
We had one last place to check out on our way home and that was Michigan's Military and Space Museum (Frankenmuth). There is so much to see but here are a few highlights from our Michigan astronauts.
Roger B Chaffee
Jack Lousma
Al Worden

Flickr link to Military Museum Photos

It was a great weekend exploring the thumb and spending time with friends!