Sunday, May 1, 2016


May Day has been celebrated throughout the world for centuries.  One of the most popular May Day traditions is to hang a basket full of flowers on a sweetheart's door.  The trick is not to be seen doing it;  if one is caught, one is supposed to get a kiss.

My question is:  Why wouldn't one want to be caught?

Probably the most famous May Day celebrations are in Communist countries where it is celebrated as International Worker's Day.

In the United States, on May 4, 1886, 1886, a rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago was organized to protest the killing and wounding of workers who had staged a strike at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company (later International Harvester).

The peaceable demonstration became violent when riots began in response to police brutality.   When the police tried to disperse the protesters, a bomb was tossed into the crowd by an unknown person, killing eight people and wounding numerous others.

Although  eight men, labeled as "anarchists", were charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death, no evidence was ever found to connect them to the bomb.  In fact, one of the men was not even at the rally, and another was on the speaker's platform.  These men became known as the Haymarket Martyrs.

Of the eight men, four were hanged, one committed suicide on the eve of his death sentence, and three were eventually pardoned.  This tragedy is an example of what can happen when xenophobia, anti-union sentiment, and justice run amok.

Depending on one's view of history, the incident is known as either the Haymarket Affair or The Haymarket Massacre.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want a tussie-mussie! ML