The Wisconsin Labor History Society’s annual Commemoration of the Bay View Tragedy that traditionally attracted hundreds of spectators was cancelled due to the restrictions required under the Covid-19 crisis rules.

Nonetheless, the Society felt it was necessary to carry on the annual event with two programs: A virtual event celebrated online held at 3 p.m., Friday, May 1, and a wreath-laying on Sunday, May 3.

The “virtual” program was recorded in a 25-minute video, shown above, featuring five presenters discussing the May 5, 1886 event in which seven persons were killed by the State Militia that had fired upon a crowd of 1500 marching in a campaign to establish the 8-hour workday. In the video you’ll see illustrations accompanying the presentations by five historians and activists, including:

John Gurda, historian and author of “The Making of Milwaukee”

Harvey Kaye, professor of Democracy and Justice, UW-Green Bay

Elizabeth Jozwiak, assoc. prof. of History, UW-Whitewater at Rock County

Jon Shelton, assoc. prof. of Democracy and Justice, UW-Green Bay

Candice Owley, retired president of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, AFT

The wreath-laying held two days later was conducted by ten Society members, all wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Candice Owley, Bay View Tragedy planning committee chair, and Steve Cupery, president of the Society, making brief remarks. Video:

Link to Video: View of wreath-laying