Bay View Massacre
May 5, 1886 - Seven people died on this day when a state militia fired upon a labor demonstration in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A large crowd of approximately 14,000 demonstrators were assembled at the Milwaukee Iron Company to show support for striking workers who were demanding an 8-hour workday. 16-hour workdays and meager wages were not uncommon in the mills, and worker discontent had boiled over into a fast-growing labor movement. Starting on May 1, workers began marching from factory to factory, gaining new strikers at each stop as brewery workers and machinists walked off the assembly lines to join the roaming protest.
Governor Jeremiah Rusk dispatched 250 National Guardsmen to keep the peace but as the crowd approached the North Chicago Rolling Mill he decided to take a deadly stand. When reached by telephone the governor told the General of the National Guard, "Fire on them."
Seven people were killed including a 13-year-old boy. The massacre succeeded in breaking up the demonstration. None of the shooters were ever charged with a crime, but many were rewarded by the business community with gifts of cash for their service. 50 of the strikers were found guilty of conspiracy and sentenced to up to 9 months of hard labor.