Haymarket Square, located on Chicago’s Near West Side at Randolph and Desplaines, is the site of the Haymarket Affair, which happened on Tuesday, May 4, 1886. Workers were gathered here, striking for an eight-hour day and to protest the previous day’s murder of several workers by police, when an unknown person threw a bomb. The explosion and resulting gunfire caused the deaths of seven police officers (including Mathias Degan) and four civilians. Eight anarchists--August Spies, Albert R. Parsons, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden, George Engle, Adolph Fischer, and Oscar Neebe--were convicted of conspiracy. Two were sentenced to life in prison, one killed himself there, and four hung. When John Altgeld was elected governor in 1983, he pardoned the two men sentenced to life, and condemned the trial.
Today the site is considered the origin of international May Day observances for workers. In 1889, a nine-foot statue of a Chicago police officer was erected on-site, however it was run over by a streetcar whose driver said he was “sick of seeing that policeman with his arm raised.” Over the years other statues were erected here, only to be blown up twice by the Weathermen. In 1972 the surviving statue was moved to the lobby of the Central Police Headquarters, and in 1976 it was re-established in the courtyard there, where it still stands. On September 14, 2003, Mayor Richard J. Daley and union leaders, including the president of the police union, unveiled a monument by Mary Brogger on-site. It still still stands there today. In 2009, Pocket Guide to Hell Tours and Reenactments held a full-scale historical reenactment around it.