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Proof that the police's tolerance for political radicalism did not rise appreciably in the years following Haymarket is offered by the story behind two red flags in the Chicago Historical Society's collection on display here (the second and third images are the two sides of the second flag). The first is a flag of the Socialist Workers' Party, the second of the Debate Club, which bears the motto "Für Freiheit und Recht" ("For Freedom and Right") on one side.

These flags, and one other without an inscription, were a gift to the Historical Society from the city arranged by Carter Harrison Jr., who had followed in his father's footsteps as mayor, serving from 1897-1905 and then again from 1911 to 15. The younger Harrison had accompanied his father to the Haymarket the night of the riot. It was originally thought that the flags had been seized shortly after the explosion of the bomb, but a further inquiry by the police revealed that they had been seized during a May Day parade in 1892.

The police had forbidden the display of anything "which savored in the least of anarchy." Two officers and the city corporation counsel were viewing the parade at the corner of Clark and Madison Streets when these banners were unfurled. The police immediately seized the flags and arrested those carrying them. The police held the offenders in a patrol wagon nearby in case more flags appeared, which would require more arrests. Afterwards the demonstrators were taken to headquarters, where Police Chief Robert McLaughry questioned them, warned them that the activity was illegal, and then let them go. Coincidentally, McLaughry had been warden at Joliet State Penitentiary when Michael Schwab and Samuel Fielden were transferred there from the Cook County Jail.

This was not an isolated incident. On November 10, 1891, for example, a day shy of the fourth anniversary of the executions, police raided the same Turner Hall on 12th Street (now Roosevelt Road) where they had conducted their much-criticized attack on a meeting of furniture workers during the 1877 railroad strike (see the entry "Driving the Rioters" in the "Great Upheaval" section of the Prologue). The police demanded that the meeting end unless the American flag was put on display. The next evening the police violently broke up a Haymarket anniversary commemoration in Greif's Hall on Lake Street, where the original Haymarket meeting was planned on the evening of May 3, 1886.