TSOTM Apr 2024: Chicago Beer Riot
TSOTM Apr 2024: Chicago Beer Riot

TSOTM Apr 2024: Chicago Beer Riot

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Our T-Shirt of the Month for April 2024, made of 100% organic cotton by a worker-owned co-operative, and supporting grassroots labour unions in South Asia.

The April 2024 design is about the Lager Beer Riot, which occurred on April 21, 1855, in Chicago, Illinois. It was the first major civil disturbance in the city predating the 1886 Haymarket Riot, which led to the 1st of May becoming Global Workers' Day. Chicago's mayor targeted the mostly German working-class immigrants in the city, who on Sundays—their only day off per week—socialized in the small taverns that dotted the North Side of Chicago. The mayor, named Levi Boone, renewed enforcement of an old local ordinance mandating that taverns be closed on Sundays and also led the city council to raise the cost of a liquor license from $50 per year to $300 per year, renewable quarterly. German-language newspapers, such as the Illinois Staatszeitung, and social movements like the Turners and German craft unions gave the German population of Chicago a high degree of social and political cohesiveness. Additionally, the Forty-Eighters among them had previously used demonstrations as a political tool during the European revolutions of 1848. Despite the renewed enforcement of Chicago's liquor ordinance, tavern owners continued to sell beer on Sundays. That resulted in over 200 Germans being arrested in violation of both the license and the Sunday ordinances. The numerous arrests led to the scheduling of a test case for the 21st of April. Saloon keepers decided to unite for defense and resistance and contributed toward a common fund and counsel to represent all. The researcher Robin Einhorn argues that the scheduling of such an event "in effect scheduled the riot." Protesters clashed with police, and waves of angry immigrants stormed the downtown area. As the marchers, coming from the north with fife and drums, approached the Chicago River at Clark Street, the mayor ordered the swing bridges to be opened to stop further waves of protestors from crossing the river. This led to further escalation of violence, which left at least one rioter named Peter Martin dead, and a policeman's arm had to be amputated. Rumours flew throughout the city that more protesters were killed. There is no evidence to support that, but loaded cannons set on the public square contributed to those rumors. The Lager Beer Riot led to a compromise in which the city council lowered the liquor license fee from $300 to $100. The council decided not to release those already imprisoned for not paying the $300 fee, but most of those arrested during the riot were released and not charged. The Lager Beer Riot illustrates the risk German immigrants were willing to bear to protect German saloon owners, whom they perceived as leaders of their community.

This design was done by illustrator and musician Chris W. Jany.

  • 100% organic cotton, single jersey, 160 g/m², 0% elastane in fabric
  • High-quality water-based print: environmentally and skin-friendly ink certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard
  • Unisex fit sizes: S - M - L - XL - 2XL – 3XL - 4XL - 5XL
  • Made with dignity by the worker-owned Humana Nova cooperative
  • Supports grassroots labour unions in South Asia through ExChains
  • Learn more about our 'T-Shirt of the Month' collaboration with dna merch here
  • Printed individually just for you, with no overproduction or waste
  • Global shipping, from France

Size guide
Please make sure to carefully choose your size by checking the size chart below.

Width: Measured 2cm (1in) beneath the sleeves across the shirt
Length: Measured from the highest point of the shoulder to the bottom end of the shirt

  S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Width (in) 19 21 22 24 25.5 26.5 27.5 33.0
Length (in) 28 29 30 31 31.5 32 29.0 33.5
Width (cm) 48 53 56 60.5 64.5 68 70 84
Length (cm) 71 74 76.5 79 80.5 82  74.5 85

When will I receive my t-shirt?

Printing of each T-Shirt of the Month will take approximately one week after being ordered. The shirts will then be shipped from France, and delivery should take up to one week for Europe, and up to 2 weeks for the rest of the world.

In the unlikely event that shirts from dna merch are out of stock, design will instead be printed on an organic t-shirt from fairwear foundation leader Stanley & Stella instead.