Today in Labor History April 30

Today in Labor History April 30, 1886: the Chicago strike the led to the Haymarket Affair.

Camp Grant Massacre

Today in Labor History April 30, 1871: A mob massacred more than 100 Apaches at Camp Grant, Arizona. The Apaches had already surrendered and placed themselves under U.S. protection when the attack occurred. As a result, the Apache, and their Yavapai allies, launched a series of attacks against the U.S. Their attacks continued into 1875.

Haymarket Affair

Today in Labor History April 30 1886: 50,000 workers in Chicago were on strike. However, 30,000 more joined them the next day. The strike halted most of Chicago’s manufacturing. On May 3rd, the cops killed four unionists. Consequently, activists organized a mass public meeting and demonstration in Haymarket Square on May 4. During the meeting, somebody threw a bomb at the cops. As a result of the explosion and subsequent gunfire, seven cops and four civilians died. Nobody ever identified the bomber. None of the killer cops was charged. However, the authorities started arresting anarchists throughout Chicago.

Kangaroo Court

They tried and convicted eight anarchist leaders in a kangaroo court. The men were: August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fisher, George Engel, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Felden and Oscar Neebe. Only two were even present when the bomb was thrown. The court convicted seven of murder and sentenced them to death. Neebe was given fifteen years.

Parson’s brother testified that the real bomb thrower was a Pinkerton agent. This was entirely consistent with the Pinkertons modus operandi. They used the agent James McParland to entrap and convict the Molly Maguires. And, as a result, twenty of them were hanged and the Pennsylvania mining union was crushed. McParland also tried to entrap WFM leader, Big Bill Haywood, for the murder of Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. Steunenberg had crushed the WFM strike in 1899, the same one in which the WFM had blown up a colliery. However, Haywood had Clarence Darrow representing him. And Darrow proved his innocence.

Executions

On November 11, 1887, they executed Spies, Parson, Fisher and Engel. They sang the Marseillaise as they marched to the gallows. The authorities arrested family members who attempted to see them one last time. This included Parson’s wife, Lucy, who was also an important anarchist organizer and orator. In 1905, she helped co-found the IWW, along with Big Bill Haywood, Eugene Debs and Mother Jones. Moments before he died, Spies shouted, “The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.” And Engel and Fischer called out, “Hurrah for anarchism!” Parsons tried to speak, but was cut off when the trap door opened beneath him.

May Day

Workers throughout the world protested the trial, conviction and executions. Prominent people spoke out against it. These included Clarence Darrow, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and William Morris. The Haymarket Affair inspired thousands to join the anarchist movement, including Emma Goldman. And it is the inspiration for International Workers’ Day, which is celebrated on May 1st in every country in the world except the U.S. 

1890s

Today in Labor History April 30 1899: The Coeur d’Alene miner’s strike continued.

1920s-1930s

April 30, 1927: An explosion at the Everettville mine in West Virginia killed 109 miners. Many of themlie in unmarked graves to this day.

Today in Labor History April 30, 1937: The Commonwealth of the Philippines voted 90% in favor of giving women the right to vote.

1940s

April 30 1945: Eva Braun and Adolph Hitler committed suicide, in Berlin, after being married for less than 40 hours

Today in Labor History April 30, 1946Bill Plympton was born on this day. He is an American animator, producer, and screenwriter. He is also a regular in the Sick and Twisted Animation Festival.

1960s

April 30, 1963: The Bristol Bus Boycott began in Bristol, UK, because the Bristol Omnibus Company’s refused to employ Black or Asian bus crews.

Today in Labor History April 30, 1965: The TWU (Transport Workers Union) won $9.5 million in pensions for former Fifth Avenue Coach employees after a long court battle. 

1990s

April 30, 1994 – Richard Scarry died. Scary wrote and illustrated humorous children’s books with elaborate scenes of anthropomorphized animals. Some of his recurring characters were Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat, Mistress Mouse the tow truck driver, and Dingo the reckless driver..

2000s

Today in Labor History April 30, 2012 – The NLRB, under Obama, implemented new rules to speed up unionization elections.

April 30, 2012 – Tomás Borge died. Borge was a Nicaraguan poet and politician. He co-founded the Sandinista National Liberation Front. The Sandinistas included several well-known artists and writers, like Ernesto Cardinal, who served as their Minister of Culture. And singer Carlos Mejia Godoy, who ran for vice-president as a Sandinista. He is also the father of U.S. conscientious objector, Camilo Mejia.

5 thoughts on “Today in Labor History April 30”

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