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History Sun May 02 2010

Workers Take Back the 1877 Streets

Thirty people were killed and 100 injured when a mob clashed with Chicago police at Maxwell and Halsted streets Sunday afternoon. The melee formed south of Maxwell at 16th Street and traveled north to the site where the crowd exchanged flying bullets, hurled rocks and swinging clubs.

You can quit Google Newsing now. Sure, the rocks were made of sponges. And OK, the guns were filled with water. And you're right. Even the police mustache's were fake, and no one was hurt or killed. But I wouldn't have messed with this mob.

These players were re-enacting a July 1877 clash between blue-collar workers from Bridgeport and Pilsen and Chicago police, federal troops and state militia.

Like workers in other cities across the United States that year, these Chicago railroad, factory, streetcar and train workers refused to allow unfair treatment and stood up for workers' rights through strikes and protests.

The excellent and quite educational re-enactment of the Battle of the Halsted Viaduct was presented by Paul Durica's Pocket Guide to Hell Tours as part of the Version Festival 10.

Battle-goers were asked to play along by throwing soft rocks at police, stand aside as a blacklisted worker, fall to the ground as a casualty and behave generally rowdy and unruly.

Hopefully it's not the last time the 1877 12th Street district and Howling Mob meet.

Until then, workers unite!

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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