Illinois town honors coal miners killed in 1922 massacre

HERRIN, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois town that literally buried its violent past is belatedly coming to terms with one of the nation’s bloodiest labor conflicts.

Twenty-three people died in June 1922 in a clash between striking union miners and replacement workers. Some victims were paraded through town and humiliated before hundreds of cheering onlookers in what became known as the Herrin Massacre.

Most of the victims were buried in unmarked graves at the Herrin city cemetery. A team of local historians and university scientists has spent the past several years digging up the old graves to help identify the forgotten occupants.

The city recently installed a monument identifying those buried by name while describing a dark chapter in local history that had mostly gone unspoken. An unveiling is set for Thursday.