Wisconsin’s most historic and bloody labor incident occurred on May 5, 1886 on the shores of Lake Michigan in the Bay View area of Milwaukee. That day dawned after four days of massive worker demonstrations throughout Milwaukee on behalf of the creation of eight-hour day laws..
As some 1,500 workers marched toward the Bay View Rolling Mills (then the area’s biggest manufacturer) urging the workers thereto join the marches, the State Militia lined up on a hill, guns poised. The marchers were ordered to stop form some 200 yards away; when they didn’t, the militiamen fired into the crowd, killing seven persons.
The marchers dispersed and the eight-hour days marches ended. The incident, in spite of its immediate end to eight-hour day efforts, spurred workers and their families to look forward to build a more progressive society in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Each year, more than 200 persons gather, under the sponsorship of the Wisconsin Labor History Society, at the Bay View Rolling Mills historical marker site at S. Superior St. and E. Russell Ave. in Milwaukee to commemorate this incident.
137th Anniversary Commemoration Bay View Tragedy
Remembering the seven who died while marching
for the 8-hour day on May 5, 1886
Commemoration Date: 3 p.m ., Sunday, May 7th.
Location: Bay View Rolling Mill historical marker site at the corner of S. Superior St. and E. Russell Ave. in the Bay View neighborhood on Milwaukee’s lakefront.
Raging Grannies Sing-Along
Re-enactment of 1886 Massacre, featuring larger-than-life-sized puppets, professional actors reading speeches
Music by Craig Siemsen, folksinger; Jahmes Finlayson, percussion
Remarks: Alan Chavoya, American Federation of Teachers Local 212
Wreath-laying / Readings of names of massacre victims