Today in Labor History – November 11th

nat_turnerAmerican slave rebellion leader Nat Turner was hanged, Jerusalem, Virginia. Three months prior, Turner had led a bloody slave revolt starting with the execution of his owner Joseph Travis and his family. Within the next 24 hours, Turner and an estimated 70 followers went on a rampage through Southampton County, Virginia, killing nearly 60 whites, while trying to encourage other slaves into revolt. Federal troops and militias were called in and ultimately suppressed the revolt, culminating with the hanging of over 100 African Americans, including many who did not participate in the revolt – 1831

Fire fighters from every New England state except Vermont respond to a call for help from Boston, where a fire has engulfed the city. 776 buildings were destroyed, 20 people died. Fire boxes in Boston were locked to prevent false alarms, therefore delaying the Boston Fire Dept. response by 20 minutes – 1872

Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel, and Adolph Fischer, framed for the Haymarket bombing in Chicago, are executed. Spies’ last words — “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today” — are engraved on the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument in Chicago’s Forest Home Cemetery – 1887

Armed “patriots” from the American Legion attacked and destroyed the IWW labor hall in Centralia, Washington, killing five. They then kidnapped, tortured, castrated and lynched Wesley Everest, a WWI veteran and IWW organizer – 1919

57 crewmen on three freighters die over a three-day period when their ships sink during a huge storm over Lake Michigan – 1940

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The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion

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