Book – Fiction. By Harriette Gillem Robinet. 2003. 142 pages.
Historical fiction chapter book on the Haymarket labor struggles and massacre.
CHICAGO, 1886. Twelve-year-old Dinah Bell is too young to be working twelve-hour days. But to the factory and mill owners, age doesn’t matter. In fact nothing seems to matter to them except how much work gets done. But Dinah and workers like her have many concerns: Food is scarce, wages are small, and hope seems out of reach.
Dinah’s father knows there must be a better way — that’s why he and eight thousand others are planning to march for an eight-hour day. But when her father is taken prisoner for helping to plan the march, Dinah is desperate to rescue him. As the march gives way to a terrifying riot, Dinah faces constant danger and a persistent question: What will become of her family if she does not set her father free? [Publisher’s description.]
The book does an excellent job of including issues of race, immigration, labor, the role of the federal government, the strategies used to oppress and divide workers, and resistance. The protagonist is an African American girl and some of the other characters are immigrants from Germany.
ISBN: 9780689854903 | Published by Aladdin Press.