The 123rd Anniversary Commemoration of the 1886 Bay View Tragedy was held on a sunny Sunday, May 3, 2009 at the Bay View Historical Marker Site at S. Superior St. and E. Russell Ave., on Milwaukee’s lakefront, before some 200 persons.
Amy Stear, Wisconsin director for 9 to 5, addressed the event, linking the struggles of the workers in 1886 with the current campaign to require paid sick days in Milwaukee. Popular folksinger Larry Penn, historian Stephen K. Hauser and other dignitaries attended. All full report will follow soon.
The commemoration has been held annually since 1986 (the 100th Anniversary of the Tragedy) and has become a tradition. More than 200 are expected to attend the event which is held to remember the incident on May 5, 1886 when the state militia fired upon several thousand workers marching for the 8-hour day, killing seven. The tragedy was the deadliest in Wisconsin labor history. Some 1,500 workers, carrying signs in support of the 8-hour day, approached the Rolling Mills, then Milwaukee’s largest employer. Not hearing orders to halt, they were fired upon by the militia, and the deaths resulted. Rep. Gwen Moore addressed the 2008 Commemoration.