Martyrs and Monuments of Chicago: The Haymarket Affair


Melissa Dabakis

Document Type


Publication Date

October 1994


On May 4, 1886, a bomb was thrown into a crowded political meeting near Haymarket Square on Chicago's west side, killing one police officer and numerous civilians. This event led to one of the fiercest attacks on anarchist dissidents in this country, culminating in an unjust trial and the execution of four innocent men. Two public monuments commemorate Chicago's famous Haymarket Affair. The Haymarket Monument (Figure 1), dedicated to the memory of eight anarchists who were tried and convicted (and later exonerated) of conspiracy charges, four of whom were executed by hanging, consists of a tall granite shaft against which stand two life-sized bronze figures, a female figure holding a laurel wreath over the head of a fallen worker. Located over their gravesite in Waldheim (now Forest Home) Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, the monument has served as a site of memorial ceremonies, political meetings, and personal pilgrimages since its dedication in 1893. As an important political monument, it represents a symbol of resistance for those concerned with radical politics in general and the history of the working class in particular. Buried near and around the monument in its bucolic setting is an impressive list of historical personnages: Lucy Parsons, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and Emma Goldman, to name only a few.





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