Illinois City OKs Dig for 1922 Massacre Victims

About 2 dozen killed in labor dispute in Herrin

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 16, 2013 2:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – A notorious labor dispute nearly a century ago in the city of Herrin, Ill., left nearly two dozen non-union and union miners dead. Now researchers are digging into the local cemetery to find them. The city council has given a team led by a geologist at Eastern Illinois University the green light to continue its excavation work, reports the Southern. The researchers have so far located five sets of unmarked remains, though there's no confirmation yet that they are among the victims of the Herrin Massacre, notes the AP.

"Given that they have done a lot of work already and there seems like much more work that needs to be done, I would personally and professionally encourage the council to agree with the proposal to stay with this project," said the city attorney. "Let's see where this takes us." The council agreed. The 1922 violence began after miners were fired for going on strike, and the coal company brought in non-union replacements. Most of the victims were from the latter group, and local lore has it that their bodies were tossed into a mass grave at the cemetery, according to history rounded up by the Daily Mail.

Stock image of a cemetery.   (Shutterstoxk)
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