The reenactment honors the struggles of Milwaukee workers to achieve a greater quality of life through a humane working day. Up until the 1886 tragedy, workers had been campaigning through rallies, marches and other efforts to establish the principle of the eight-hour day.
The Milwaukee rally for the cause ended with the Wisconsin State Militia firing into a crowd of about 1500 immigrant workers and laborers marching toward the old Bay View Rolling Mills (Milwaukee’s largest employer) and killing seven.
For the third straight year, this year’s event featured the popular re-enactment of the Bay View Tragedy performed by the Milwaukee Public Theatre with the Milwaukee Puppet and Mask Theatre. The traditional program — as it has been celebrated since 1986 — was held with Michael Gordon, professor emeritus of history from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee as an honored speaker.
The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Labor History Society in cooperation with the Bay View Historical Society, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and the Milwaukee Area Labor Council.