Symposium: Altgeld, Haymarket Riots

 

Heath W. Carter

Clarence Darrow aficionados will gather at the Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park Tuesday, March 13 at 10 a.m. for the annual ceremony commemorating Darrow’s death in Chicago on March 13, 1938. Darrow is remembered for his crusading role as “attorney for the damned” in such controversial cases as the Scopes Monkey Trial, the Leopold and Loeb murder case, and the pardoning of the Haymarket anarchists.

After the ritual outdoor wreath-tossing ceremony, guests will move inside to the Museum of Science and Industry’s New Columbia Room for a lecture and discussion on the Haymarket case, “Absolving Anarchy: John P. Altgeld and the Pardon that Shook Gilded Age America,” to be given by Heath W. Carter.

The talk delves into the precipitous rise and fall of one of Illinois’ most progressive governors. On June 26, 1893, Illinois Gov. John P. Altgeld pardoned the three surviving prisoners who had originally been sentenced to death for Chicago’s Haymarket bombing. He was widely vilified for this decision and his political career was never the same, but upon his death in 1902 Darrow praised him in a famous eulogy as “a soldier in the everlasting struggle of the human race for liberty and justice on the earth.”

Heath W. Carter is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. history at the University of Notre Dame. He has broad interests in the social history of modern industrial society, and has published articles on race, religion, and labor in a variety of academic and popular journals. He is writing a book entitled Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago, which tells the story of how wage-earning believers innovated a fierce critique of both the captains of industry and the churches that underwrote their rule.  He has taught courses at the University of Illinois (Chicago), Loyola University Chicago, and the Newberry Library. In the summer of 2012, he will assume a new post as the assistant professor of modern United States history at Valparaiso University.

Loyola Law Professor Anita Weinberg, daughter of the late Arthur and Lila Weinberg, will preside over the indoor program. Tracy Baim, daughter of the late Joy Darrow, will preside at the bridge. Other Darrow committee members are event co-founder Herb Kraus, Bill Campbell, Nina Helstein and Nina Barrett.

Darrow, who was born in 1857 in Farmdale, Ohio, practiced in Chicago, repeatedly represented underdog clients and vigorously opposed capital punishment. None of his many clients was sentenced to death.

Darrow’s death on March 13, 1938, was memorialized throughout the world. His ashes, and later the ashes of his wife Ruby and his son Paul, were scattered from the Darrow Bridge which was dedicated to his memory by the Chicago Park District in 1957.

Media contact: Tracy Baim, 773-387-2394
editor@windycitytimes.com

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