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Celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Haymarket

BLOOMINGTON – Citizens of Bloomington-Normal will be traveling to Chicago for this week’s labor festivities around the 125th anniversary of the Haymarket incident, culminating in the May 1st rededication and restoration of the Haymarket Monument in Forest Home cemetery.

The 125th Haymarket anniversary will draw labor unionists from around the world, and has acquired even greater significance after the events in Wisconsin put labor rights center-stage in the United States.

Bill Campbell and Mike Matejka, both from Bloomington-Normal, are centrally involved in the events of the week. They have encouraged labor unionists in town, organized under the Bloomington & Normal Trades and Labor Assembly, to attend the festivities.

Says Bill Campbell, “The struggle of workers to claim the rightful fruits of their labor was intense in 1886, and it is intense today. It is no secret that the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and individual members of the business class (think “Koch Brothers”) are waging an all-out war on the right of workers to act collectively, through unions. The gathering this May first at the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument represents a reclaiming of the history of labors’ past achievements, like the eight-hour day, and the relevance of those 19th century fights for us in the early 21st Century.”

The Ilinois Labor History Society has published information on Haymarket anniversary, including a full listing of the events and a little historical background of Mayday as an international labor celebration.

There are two BloNo carpools being organized to attend the May 1st rededication ceremony at Forest Home ceremony, scheduled to begin at 1 pm at the cemetery. There is a carpool leaving the Laborer’s Hall at 9 am, and another carpool will be leaving 10 am (come at 9:30 am to assemble) from the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. Contact Corey at coreymattson@gmail.com for information regarding the carpools.

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