This week in 1887

October 30th, 2012 by admin

“May I be allowed to speak? Oh, men of America! May I be allowed the privilege of speech even at the last moment? Harken to the voice of the people—”

— Albert Parsons, convicted of murder, hanging, Illinois.
Executed November 11, 1887

Parsons was an American-born anarchist who was forced to flee Texas in response to pressure from the Ku Klux Klan because of his interracial marriage. In Chicago, Parsons became a prominent labor activist and was a founding member of the International Working People’s Association. Executed along with three other Haymarket activists, he was cut off in the middle of his last words as the hangman dropped the trapdoor from beneath the four men’s feet.

In 1992, the site of the Haymarket incident was commemorated with a bronze plaque. It read:

A decade of strife between labor and industry culminated here in a confrontation that resulted in the tragic death of both workers and policemen. On May 4, 1886, spectators at a labor rally had gathered around the mouth of Crane’s Alley. A contingent of police approaching on Des Plaines Street were met by a bomb thrown from just south of the alley. The resultant trial of eight activists gained worldwide attention for the labor movement, and initiated the tradition of “May Day” labor rallies in many cities.

Designated on March 25, 1992
Richard M. Daley, Mayor

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