Missing from Haymarket Square

Missing from Haymarket Square

By Harriette Gillem Robinet

Atheneum, Hardcover, 9780689838958, 144pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 2001

Her loving father's major concern is the struggle for better working conditions in factories and mills. Her mother thinks mostly of the terrible injury she has received in a sewing factory. Therefore Dinah Bell must care for herself. But not only herself. She and two other children, Austrian immigrants who do not mind that Dinah is the child of former slaves, not only work twelve-hour days to help support their families with the three dollars a week they each earn, but they do even more. All five families that depend on them for food live together in one rat-and-roach infested room in a Chicago tenement. The children steal, though they hate being thieves.

Other concerns vanish, however, when in the spring of 1886, Dinah's father is taken prisoner by the dreaded Pinkertons -- detectives who help factory owners get rid of unions and their organizers. Now, Dinah must find where her father is being held and free him. On May first there is a march of eighty thousand workers, demonstrating for an eight-hour day. The march is why Mr. Noah Bell has been taken prisoner, and the march and its aftermath, the Haymarket Riot, put Dinah in constant danger. Yet she is determined to succeed. Her father must be freed.

Once again Harriette Gillem Robinet portrays likeable children, with their needs and struggles, against a background of real events in American history. The result is an exciting story that reveals important truths about the American past.