Author: Matthew Friedman

The Memorial Project: Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument, Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, IL

Although muffled by the shroud that draped his head and body, the voice of August Spies rang out in cramped prison yard where he, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel stood on the scaffold on 11 November 1887. A fifth man, Louis Lingg, had cheated the hangman by taking his own life the day before. “The day will come,” Spies shouted, “when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today.” The hangman released the trap; the silence was deafening. The executions marked both an end and a beginning in American labor history. The...

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Speaking Ill of the Dead

I was dismayed to read Randa Jarrar’s tweet yesterday. Marking the death of Barbara Bush, she wrote that she was an “amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal.” Later, she doubled-down, and claimed to be happy that “the witch is dead.” While I respect Jarrar’s honestly-held opinion, and I am appalled that she might face disciplinary action or dismissal for exercising her right to free speech, I found the sentiment tasteless, and deeply offensive. Worse still was the chorus of my comrades on the left who chimed-in with their own, often gleeful condemnations. Make no...

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The Memorial Project: Confederate Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC

In the aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh, in April 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant wrote that “it would have been possible to walk across the clearing in any direction stepping on dead bodies without a foot touching the ground.” It was the bloodiest battle in American history to that point, although it would soon be eclipsed by the carnage of Chickamauga, Spotsylvania, and Gettysburg. More than 1,700 Union soldiers lay dead, and an equal number of rebels. Fully one quarter of the men who fought on those days were maimed, missing, or dead. The bodies were piled into...

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Faces of Change: March For Our Lives NYC

As many as 200,000 demonstrators came out on a sunny spring morning in Manhattan to participate in the March for Our Lives. They joined almost a million marching in Washington DC, and hundreds of thousands more at more than 800 events across the country and around the world to demand gun control, and to defiantly stand-up to the American gun lobby. These are some photographs from the march in New York. First Steps ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 27 A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Ilford HP5+ 400) © Matthew Friedman Scroll...

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The Memorial Project: Irish Famine Memorial, Lincoln Park, Jersey City, NJ

The 18-foot tall Celtic cross in Jersey City’s Lincoln Park marks both a memory of profound trauma and the persistence of the community that remembers it. Erected in 2011 in a public park by the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, the memorial’s design reaches far back into Irish history to commemorate an Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger) of 1845-1852, the cataclysmic famine that killed a million and sent millions more from their homeland. The Irish community has deep roots in Jersey City that reach back to that cataclysm. Father Mark O’Connell opened the dedication ceremony with a blessing, following...

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