Monday, May 01, 2023

August Spies, the eight-hour workday, the Haymarket Affair, and International Workers’ Day

On Saturday, 1 May 1886, a strike calling for an eight-hour workday began in the United States. On the following Monday, August Spies, an immigrant from Germany (who went to school in Kassel, my wife's hometown), gave a speech in Chicago; after that demonstration, violence broke out, and two workers who were not striking died. At a rally where Spies spoke the next day at Haymarket Square, a bomb went off, and Spies and seven others were accused of planting the bomb themselves, with Spies and three others executed on 11 November 1887. International Workers' Day was first celebrated in 1890 to honor the strike that led to the Haymarket Affair. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 1 May 2023

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