PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Around the world each May 1, workers march and protest for better pay and working conditions. But how did that come about?
As Time Magazine said in 2015, by complete accident.
In 1929, Time wrote an article that explained what happened.
“To old-fashioned people, May Day means flowers, grass, picnics, children, clean frocks. To up-and-doing Socialists and Communists it means speechmaking, parading, bombs, brickbats, conscientious violence. This connotation dates back to May Day, 1886, when some 200,000 U. S. workmen engineered a nationwide strike for an eight-hour day.”
The strike became known as the Haymarket Affair in Chicago. It began on May 1, 1886, escalated into violence with police on May 3 and on May 4 a bomb blast killed a Chicago police officer. Three weeks later, 31 men were indicted and 8 were charged with murder.
In August 1886, the 8 men were convicted, with 7 sentenced to death by hanging. Four of them were hanged in November 1887, one day after a fifth committed suicide.
Six years later, the governor of Illinois pardoned the other three.“In 1889, the International Socialist Conference declared that, in commemoration of the Haymarket affair, May 1 would be an international holiday for labor, now known in many places as International Workers’ Day,” Time Magazine wrote.“In the U.S., that holiday came in for particular contempt during the anti-communist fervor of the early Cold War. In July of 1958, President Eisenhower signed a resolution named May 1 “Loyalty Day” in an attempt to avoid any hint of solidarity with the “workers of the world” on May Day. “