Today in Labor History – November 11th

Nat Turner

American slave rebellion leader Nat Turner was hanged in 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

Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel, and Adolph Fischer, framed for the Haymarket bombing in Chicago, were 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. A mob  dragged IWW organizer and WWI vet Wesley Everest to town behind an automobile, suspended him from a telegraph pole, took him down, and locked him in jail. That night, his jailhouse door was broken down, he was dragged out, put on the floor of a car, his genitals were cut off, and then he was taken to a bridge, hanged, and his body riddled with bullets. – 1919

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

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