Haymarket Centennial | Letters | Chicago Reader

Haymarket Centennial 

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To the editors:

Your article on the Haymarket site and, by extension, on the 1986 Centennial Commemoration [December 10] was inaccurate and misinformed. The commemoration was a series of events organized by hundreds of individuals and organizations. While they included both academics and ultra left anarchists, about whom you decided to focus your story, these elements were by no means the central or most important parts. The Centennial Commemoration, while endorsed by several courageous and principled city officials, was not "sanctioned" by the city and received not one municipal penny. The month long series of events included 60 public events and 40 public school events coordinated, funded, and executed by a grassroots coalition of artists, activists, unionists, teachers, historians, the clergy, and other members of the community. The significance of the coalition and its broad program of activities is that it was a laudable and in many ways successful effort to popularize this chapter of "peoples" history which, as you accurately point out, has been unfortunately taken from the people. The teaching materials created by the Centennial program are still being used in the community and funds raised are being used to maintain the monument to the martyrs at Walheim. Videos are available of several of the community events which took place. Your reducing this effort to a conflict between an academic and one ineffectual type of ultra left anarchist denies the character and accomplishments of the Centennial and makes it more difficult to attempt future projects of this sort.

Allen Schwartz

W. Walton

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