Archive ID: MC-8-8

Geraldine Borozan oral history interview

Date Created: 2002-08-01

Donor: Southeast Chicago Historical Society

Media Type: Film/Video

Language: English


Gerry Jolly Borozan was present at the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937. During this landmark labor event at Republic Steel in Southeast Chicago, ten strikers were killed by city police and nearly 100 people wounded. Gerry lived with her family in a house next to Republic Steel on the East Side. During the Great Depression, the New Deal’s Wagner Act of 1935 had given workers the right to organize independent unions. While U.S. Steel agreed to recognize an independent union, some steel companies, including Republic, refused to do so. This led to the Little Steel Strike of 1937. In the days leading up to the Massacre, Republic steelworkers in Southeast Chicago were beaten by police as they tried to set up picket lines. Steelworkers then called for a mass rally of supporters on Memorial Day to support their legal right to picket and form a union. Chicago city police, armed by and under the influence of Republic Steel and its rabidly anti-union President Tom Girdler, fired on the unarmed steelworkers and supporters. Gerry’s older brother Jim and fiancé Steve Borozan, both steelworkers at Republic, were among the strikers. She herself worked in the soup kitchen at strike headquarters in a former tavern known as Sam’s Place. She and her younger brother also participated in the march and then escaped to their nearby house once the shooting began. In the days after the event, Gerry clipped newspaper articles and pasted them into a scrapbook which is also in the Museum collection. This oral history about the events of that day was conducted by the Museum Director and students interns during 2002.

Rights Policy:

Materials posted on this site have been donated to the Southeast Chicago Historical Society and Museum for public use. If there are any questions or concerns about materials posted, please contact us. Some of the materials on this site are protected under Creative Commons licensing. For information on use and reproduction, please see the following Rights Policy.


Contact us with any inquiries.


Historic Events   Memorial Day Massacre   Strikes   Unions   1980 - Present (Deindustrialization)   East Side   European Descent   Film/Video  

This item appears in:

The Memorial Day Massacre

A story told through Museum objects saved by Southeast Chicago residents

Experience the Storyline