Death in the Haymarket

THU, MAR 30, 2006 (59:02)

James Green, professor of history at UMASS Boston and Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States discuss the exhilarating rise of a visionary union movement and its downfall in the wake of the Haymarket tragedy. In May of 1886 Americans awoke to the news that a bomb had exploded a Chicago labor rally, killing several policemen. Coming in the midst of the largest national strike Americans had ever seen, the bombing, the mass hysteria it created, and the sensational trial and executions that followed, made headlines across the country. National sentiment turned against the burgeoning labor movement, ending a moment of hope for the nation’s working class.

+ BIO: Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn grew up in Brooklyn in a working-class, immigrant household. At the age of 18 he became a shipyard worker and three years later joined the Air Force. He flew bomber missions during World War II, after which he returned to Brooklyn, got married, and occupied a basement apartment. His experiences in the shipyard and in the Air Force helped shape his opposition to war and passion for history. He went to college under the GI Bill and received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. He taught at Spelman College, where he served as an advisor to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and worked with young Civil Rights Movement activists, including Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman. He was fired from Spelman for his support of the students. Zinn led antiwar protests, went to Vietnam with Daniel Berrigan, and testified in Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers trial. His politically engaged life brought him into many arenas: imprisonment for civil disobedience, fights for open debate in universities, and activist work from the Vietnam era to the present. Zinn is the author of dozens of books, including the classic A People’s History of the United States and Declarations of Independence. His essays have appeared in more than 20 books, and his plays include Emma, Unsafe Distances, and Marx in Soho. Zinn has won numerous awards, including the Albert J. Beveridge Prize from the American Historical Association, the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Upton Sinclair Award, the Lannan Literary Award, and the Havens Center Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship. His best-known work, A People’s History of the United States, earned the New England Book Award for nonfiction and was nominated for an American Book Award.

+ BIO: James Green

Professor Green has been teaching undergraduate courses in history and labor studies at Committee for Public Counsel Services since he joined the faculty in 1977. He created the Labor Studies Program in 1981 and served as the first director of the Labor Resource Center in 1995. In recent years he has regularly offered two courses, Working Culture and Society in the US since 1877 and A People’s History of Boston. Jim Green is as activist and public historian as well as a scholar and educator. He has written 17 op eds and reviews for the Boston Globe as well as articles in periodicals like The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has served as president of the Labor and Working Class History Association, the professional association in his field, and he is an associate editor of the association’s quarterly journal, Labor: Studies of Working Class History in the Americas. Professor Green is the author of six books on labor and social movements including his forthcoming book, Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America.

Revolutionary Spaces
Howard Zinn Series
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