On May 4th, 1886, a rally of anarchists and labor activists in Chicago's Haymarket Square turned deadly. An unknown assailant tossed a bomb into a throng of riot police, killing one instantly. In the chaos that erupted, seven policemen were killed, sixty injured, and civilian casualties were likely as high. The event marked the anarchist movement as violent and made Chicago world-famous as a hotspot of labor conflict.
Eight men were arrested and charged with murder at Haymarket. Though they all opposed Chicago's elite businessmen, whom they believed stood for "starvation of the masses, privileges and luxury for the few," the eight held very different ideas about what action to take. Some advocated change through violence, while others believed progress could come via social engineering. Despite their different beliefs, the trial, convictions and sentencing that followed would unite these "Haymarket Eight" in history.
Explore the forces and ideas that came together at Haymarket. Select any of the eight individuals listed to begin.
The Haymarket Events
Watch a video re-creation of the Haymarket incident, from the film.
View The Dramas of Haymarket, a chronological examination of Haymarket, on the Chicago Historical Society's Web site.