Seven police officers were killed and
many others were seriously injured by the blast. The
police responded with gunfire and more people were
killed and over 100 people were injured in the Haymarket
Square Riot. The bomber was not identified but eight men
were convicted of conspiracy and inciting violence and
four were hanged as anarchists.
Haymarket Riot for kids: The Labor Rally
The Haymarket riot
happened on the rainy evening of May 4, 1886 at about
10.30pm when the last of the speakers at a labor rally
were addressing the remaining crowd. Tensions were high
but the rally had been peaceful. Without warning there
was a deafening explosion - an anarchist had thrown a
dynamite bomb into the group of police officers who were
trying to disperse the crowd.
Haymarket Riot: The Haymarket Bombing
The Haymarket bombing in Chicago
began with the
explosion of a dynamite bomb that was thrown into a
group of policemen. The bomb explodes with a frightening
noise and people were temporarily blinded blinded by the
blinding flash of the explosion. There was complete
panic in the carnage, people lay dead, screaming and
injured. The bomb killed seven men, crippled a further
eleven officers for life, and injured another twelve
other police officers so badly that they were unable to
return to duty for a year.
The Chicago police responded with indiscriminate
gunfire, killing both police officers and workers in the
square. The total number of people injured in the
confrontation in the Haymarket Square in Chicago was
nearly one hundred.
Causes of the Haymarket Riot for kids
in America had changed the lives of Americans
resulting in complex social and economic changes
The causes of the
Haymarket Riot were:
nation was experiencing a long period of economic
resented the powerful, ruthless magnates of industry - the 'Robber Barons'
The issues of worker's rights and working conditions
brought about the emergence of the Unions, strikes,
protests, demonstrations and riots across the country.
For addition facts refer to the article on the
Labor Unions History.
1, 1886, 800,000 workers from all trades and factories
throughout the US went on strike in support of the
eight-hour working day and to protest against child
at the McCormick International Harvester Company in
Chicago went on strike the next day, which led to the
strike of 40,000 workmen in Chicago
3, 1886 the Chicago police clashed with pickets at the
McCormick factory and opened fire on the striking
workers, killing, four and wounding many more.
protest rally was called for the following day on May 4,
1886 at Haymarket Square.
Haymarket Riot for kids: Sunday May 2, 1886
Sunday, May 2, passed without incident. The striking
workmen in Chicago were chiefly factory workers, lumbermen,
brick-makers, freight-handlers and iron-workers. There were many
parades and many of the leaders of the workers made speeches, some
of which were highly radical. Some of the strikers favored militant
protests and no doubt some of the more vocal rabble-rousers were
anarchists. However, the massive majority of workers were peaceful
men, taking strike action to improve the lives of their families.
Strikers attempted to negotiate with the employers but the majority
refused to concede to any of the striker's demands.
Haymarket Riot for kids: Monday May 3, 1886
The next day about 12,000 strikers gathered at the
McCormick Reaper Works on Western Avenue, Chicago. The strikers
armed with stones shattered the windows of the factory. The police
arrived but the mob refused to disperse and started showering the
police with stones. The policemen fired twice over the heads of the
rioters and then fired directly at the rioters killing four and
injuring many others. The following day would see the Haymarket Riot
Haymarket Riot for kids: Tuesday May 4, 1886
A protest rally was called on Tuesday, May 4. There
were no serious conflicts between the strikers and the police but a
further meeting was called in the evening at the old Haymarket
Place. The meeting took place and the incendiary speeches of the
militant strikers were suddenly accompanied by the explosion of a
bomb. The Chicago bombing shocked the nation and marked the
anarchist movement as violent and Chicago as a hotspot of labor
protests and conflict.
Haymarket Riot for kids: Wednesday May 5, 1886
On Wednesday May 5, 1886 there was anger and confusion in
Chicago. No one was able to identify the person who threw the bomb
but Chicago police rounded up labor leaders, searched houses
(without warrants) and Union newspaper offices were closed down.
Hundreds of leaders of the labor movement were hauled into jail for
questioning, not just in Chicago, but throughout the country. And
Martial Law was declared across the nation.
Haymarket Riot for kids: The Trial and the
The Haymarket Riot resulted in the
grand jury indicting 31 suspected labor
radicals in connection with the Chicago
bombing. Eight men were convicted in a
controversial trial following the
Haymarket Riot. The names of the eight
- August Spies
- Louis Lingg
- George Engel
- Oscar Neebe
Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death
sentence on seven of the men, and the
eighth, Oscar Neebe, was sentenced to 15
years hard labor for their involvement
in the Haymarket Riot. On November 10,
1886, the day before the executions,
Governor Oglesby changed the death
sentences of Samuel Fielden and Michael
Schwab to life imprisonment. On
the eve of his scheduled execution,
Louis Lingg committed suicide in his
prison cell. His death is surrounded
with mystery as he committed suicide
with with a smuggled blasting cap, even
though he was expecting his sentence to
be commuted. The blast blew off
half his face and he survived in agony
for over six hours. On November 11,
1887, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer,
August Spies, and Albert Parson were all
hung for the Haymarket Riot.
Haymarket Riot for kids: The Pardon
The trial following the
Haymarket Riot was seen as a serious miscarriage of justice
and the defendant's lawyers were widely criticized for incompetence.
Seven years later, in June 1893,
Governor John P. Altgeld pardoned the three men who still alive and
serving prison sentences. He condemned the entire judicial system
that had allowed the injustice.