The Haymarket Riot, 1886 The Haymarket riot and trial was a turning point in American History. It lead to the first "Red Scare" which caused many Americans to consider any labor movement to be the first step toward communism.
Back Story My friend Dr. Tim Messer-Kruse is a historian who has written widely on the Haymarket incident. In 2012 he ignited a discussion about Wikipedia regarding accuracy and editing policies.Here is the Wikipedia article about him.
Major Announcement: Dr. Tim Messer-Kruse will be at TECHS after school on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 to talk about his controversy with Wikipedia and anything else you might want to ask a historian about doing NHD.
Let's take a look at the controversy and see what new perspectives we can gain regarding the process of interpreting history.
Your Task You are the social studies department chair at a prestigious early college high school somewhere in the midwest. You have been asked by the superintendent to develop a district policy on using Wikipedia, a website that is being used frequently by students.
A recent controversy is brought to your attention and you decide to use it as a case study in your research.
Your final report will attempt to answer two questions:
Should Wikipedia be used as a source? How do we know what is true?
Step by Step 1. Read the entry on Haymarket in the textbook (p. 247, this will take you at least 30 seconds). List at least 5 things you learned from this entry. List 5 things you are curious about or that you would need to know to get a better understanding of this event. Is this passage enough for students to understand the Haymarket Affair?
2. Read the Chronicle article, the Atlantic Monthly article and listen to the National Public Radio (NPR) interview (below). What makes Dr. Messer-Kruse an "expert" on Haymarket? What exactly did he try to change on Wikipedia that he considered inaccurate? Why did he feel that he was correct? Why didn't the "gatekeepers" at Wikipedia let him edit the article.
Chronicle of Higher Education Article, 12 February 2012
4. Finally (What you will be handing in) Write a letter to the superintendent summarizing what happened between the historian and Wikipedia. Offer a recommendation on a district policy for using Wikipedia in the classroom. Remember to back up general statements with specifics from the documents and interview.