Monday, September 05, 2011

How we've seen Labor Day, in black and white

Photo shows Chicago Daily News Band standing in formation, with trombone players in the first row, believed at the Labor Day parade in Chicago around Sept. 7, 1903. The band was sponsored by the Daily News for its newsboys. (Bigger view.)

From the Library of Congress American Memory Today in History site:

On Sept. 5, 1882 -- 129 years ago today -- some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City to participate in America's first Labor Day parade. After marching from City Hall, past reviewing stands in Union Square, and then uptown to 42nd Street, the workers and their families gathered in Wendel's Elm Park for a picnic, concert, and speeches. This first Labor Day celebration was eagerly organized and executed by New York’s Central Labor Union, an umbrella group made up of representatives from many local unions. 

Debate continues to this day as to who originated the idea of a workers' holiday, but it definitely emerged from the ranks of organized labor at a time when they wanted to demonstrate the strength of their burgeoning movement and inspire improvements in their working conditions.

[Image: Library of Congress]


  1. We owe labor a hell of a lot for making the American work force get the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known. Labor also brought us near the ideal society. So why is Gannett and other newspapers so resistant to unionization? What are they doing that they don't want the employees to know about. Bet you can guess.

  2. We need Labor Day to remember outrages, like the backlash against Robeson for singing this song:

  3. Look for the union label on more Gannett banners before long.


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