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Urban GreenNature, Recreation, and the Working Class in Industrial Chicago$
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Colin Fisher

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469619958

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619958.001.0001

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The Nature of May Day

The Nature of May Day

Green Space and Working-Class Chicago

(p.114) Chapter Five The Nature of May Day
Urban Green

Colin Fisher

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes how workers used rural and wild landscapes as well as urban green spaces to forge community and to make a working class. These laborers typically used these spaces to imagine a reformed and sometimes utopian future, thereby adding a “green” dimension to Chicago’s labor movement during the early twentieth century. Trade unionists often held demonstrations along Ogden’s Grove, a popular place used by trade unionists to organize meetings and voice out concerns regarding labor conditions. Labor leaders spoke of a reformed society, a future world which workers would have eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours to do “what we will.” These meetings eventually became large-scale demonstrations that conducted parades along the city and is usually ended with a picnic at various parks. Unionists view the picnic as an opportunity for workers to bridge ethnic and craft divisions.

Keywords:   workers, urban green spaces, community, working class, Chicago labor movement, Ogden’s Grove, labor conditions

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