In Illustrations: May Day and Its History

This article was originally published on May 1, 2019 and is being republished on May 1, 2023.

May 1 is observed as International Workers’ Day. In illustrations, The Wire recounts the long history for workers’ rights.

1. Labour in the late 19th century USA.

2. Long work hours, no vacation, labour laws violated, workers get restless

3. Demanding an eight hour work day, workers call for strike.

4. Protest break out across US cities.

Police attack picketing workers. Workers decide to protest police atrocity at Haymarket.


5. Peaceful protest by the workers at the Haymarket Square.
6. Police orders to disperse the protesting crowd.
One unidentified man throws bomb at the police. Police fires back to the crowd.
7. Authority hangs four Haymarket massacre anarchists.
8. First May Day
To commemorate the martyrdom of the four anarchists of the Haymarket massacre the 6th conference of the second International calls for “all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”