Date of Award

5-2023

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Dr. David Gellman

Second Advisor

Dr. Elissa Harbert

Third Advisor

Dr. Karin Wimbley

Abstract

In this thesis, I combine several disciplines to analyze multiple types of sources in order to get a better understanding of how the Haymarket Affair has been remembered. In this thesis, I combine history, musical theater, and literature to show how the memory of the Haymarket affair has changed in the last 137 years. Relying on newspaper articles, a musical performance, an episode of a television show, trial documents, and a collection of primary sources about Haymarket made available by the Chicago Historical Society, I am able to track the memory of the Haymarket Affair and how it has changed and been altered throughout the last century.

With this thesis, I use specific phrases that I uniquely define for this project. Throughout this thesis, ‘Haymarket Affair’ will be used to define an expansive timeline, beginning with the McCormick Reaper Plant Strike and ending with the hanging of the anarchists. Similarly, ‘Haymarket Riot’ will be used to refer to the specific chain of events that happened on May 4, 1886, in Haymarket Square. As I refer to the monuments, I refer to the one that was first erected as the ‘Cop memorial’, even though it was officially called the ‘Haymarket Memorial Statue’,call it the Cop memorial for sake of clarity. The ‘Martyrs’ monument refers to the monument erected in Waldheim Cemetery for the anarchists that were hanged. The memorial that currently stands at the site of the Haymarket Riot will be referred to as the ‘Haymarket Memorial,’ as that is its official name.

After needed background information on the Haymarket Riot and the trial, this thesis transitions into an in-depth discussion about the memorial. This memorial’s turbulent history reveals the cultural discussion about Haymarket and how it has evolved over time has passed. After this, I look into cultural representation of Haymarket, such as a Drunk History episode and a musical, both published in the early 2010s. By looking at these cultural representations I look at how the Haymarket Affair has been remembered in modern memory.

Where once was a labor riot that helped change the course of labor and workers conditions in this country, nothing stood for decades. No monument, no memorial, not even a plaque to signify the country altering events that had happened in what was Haymarket Square. This dichotomy, of an event being able to be remembered and forgotten at the same time, is what is at the center of the debate about the Haymarket Affair. By studying several different cultural representations of the Haymarket Affair, the legacy of Haymarket has proved to live long beyond the 19th century and continues to permeate cultural discussions today. Despite efforts to quell the impact of Haymarket, it is extremely evident that Haymarket lives.

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