Saw in the Tribune on Wednesday morning that a new statue commemorating the Haymarket Riot (more politically correct designations, such as “Haymarket Affair,” have been adopted over the years) was unveiled the day before. It’s good to see that people in Chicago will still turn out to argue the disputes of 118 years ago:
At the dedication, angry calls of “Anarchists!” were heard as Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon read a list of men executed or sent to prison after the riot. And hecklers, some who waved anarchist flags, booed and uttered obscenities at (Fraternal Order of Police) President Mark Donahue.
Dad and I went down to Randolph and Desplaines streets — the first time I ever visited the spot. The statue’s interesting, I guess: It’s an attempt to interpret the history of the moment rather than represent it literally. (An earlier statue on the spot, of a police officer holding up his hand and saying, “In the name of the people of Illinois, I command peace,” was attacked so frequently that it has been relocated to the city’s police academy). But I’m not an art critic. More interesting to me: An older couple showed up while we were out there. After a few minutes, I asked them what had brought them out. It turned out they have retired to the city and live on Randolph, over by the lake. They had seen the story in the paper, too, and decided to investigate. “When I read about this, I asked my kids, ‘What world-famous historical incident took place nine blocks west of where we live,” the man said. “One said, ‘It’s got somethng to do with labor.’ That was pretty good. Another one said, ‘Stop torturing your children.’ ”
Dad and I visited just in time. Chicago’s late-summer warm-wave was about to break, and thunderstorms had started to move across the city; five minutes after we were back in the car, it started to rain.