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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

Chapter:
(p.114) Chapter Five The Nature of May Day
Source:
Urban Green
Author(s):

Colin Fisher

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619958.003.0006

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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