70th Anniversary of the Memorial Day Massacre
Sunday, May 27, 2:00 p.m
11731 S. Avenue O, Chicago
Featured Speaker: Leo Gerard, President, USWA
For more information call Victor Storino, 773-646-0800
Memorial Day Massacre of 1937
Ten demonstrators were killed by police bullets during the “Little Steel Strike” of 1937. When several smaller steelmakers, including Republic Steel, refused to follow the lead of U.S. Steel (Big Steel) by signing a union contract, a strike was called by the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
As a show of support, hundreds of SWOC sympathizers from all around Chicago gathered on Memorial Day at Sam’s Place, where the SWOC had its strike headquarters. After a round of speeches, the crowd began a march across the prairie and toward the Republic Steel mill. They were stopped midway by a formation of Chicago police. While demonstrators in front were arguing for their right to proceed, police fired into the crowd and pursued the people as they fled. Mollie West, a Typographical Union Local 16 member and a youthful demonstrator at the time, still recalls the command addressed to her: “Get off the field, or I’ll put a bullet in your back.”
The union hall of USWA Local 1033 now occupies the area where Sam’s Place once stood. A memorial to the ten who died can be found there at 11731 Ave. O, about a 10-minute drive from Pullman. From Pullman take I-94 northbound to the 103rd St exit. Go east to Torrence Ave, then south to 106th. Turn left past the rotting hulk of Wisconsin Steel. When you cross the Calumet River watch for Ave O. Turn south to 117th. Look for the flagpole. The phone is (773)646-0800.