Problems at the Stockyards

Thursday, August 7, 1919, as national guard troops still patrolled Chicago’s streets, the meatpackers welcomed roughly three thousand Black men and women back to work under armed guard. The three thousand Black workers had been off work, and unpaid, for days.

Police were posted on routes to the Yards and at the stockyard gates by 5:00 a.m. that morning, while thirty-five mounted police rode up and down Halsted Street on their horses and companies of the Illinois National Guard patrolled the streets around the Yards. 

It did not help. No sooner had the Black workers walked through the stockyard gates Thursday morning, than nearly five thousand white workers walked off the job.



Writer. Formerly civil rights attorney. Currently professor. Working on new book about mental disability and criminal law in the 20th century.

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