History of Labor Day

ILGWU Local 62 marches in a Labor Day parade. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kheelcenter/5278801929/in/photolist-7iEKir-93teUn-93wkss-93v4aV-93wxPL-21eteK3-93wxK1-93wkjy-93tf1z-93wiWj-93wiSJ-93teFx-93wUPj-93teXv-93wYkh

Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

Early Adopters

A postcard shows a horse-drawn float. The caption reads: Labour Day Float, 1916.

Before it was a federal holiday, Labor Day was recognized by labor activists and individual states. After municipal ordinances were passed in 1885 and 1886, a movement developed to secure state legislation. New York was the first state to introduce a bill, but Oregon was the first to pass a law recognizing Labor Day, on February 21, 1887. During 1887, four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – passed laws creating a Labor Day holiday. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

McGuire v. Maguire: Who Founded Labor Day?

Black and white portraits of machinist Matthew Maguire and carpenter Peter McGuire.

Who first proposed the holiday for workers? It’s not entirely clear, but two workers can make a solid claim to the Founder of Labor Day title.

Some records show that in 1882, Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, suggested setting aside a day for a “general holiday for the laboring classes” to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that machinist Matthew Maguire, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday.

Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

According to the New Jersey Historical Society, after President Cleveland signed the law creating a national Labor Day, the Paterson Morning Call published an opinion piece stating that “the souvenir pen should go to Alderman Matthew Maguire of this city, who is the undisputed author of Labor Day as a holiday.” Both Maguire and McGuire attended the country’s first Labor Day parade in New York City that year.

The First Labor Day

A sketch shows a large crowd gathered to watch a parade. The image is labeled September 5, 1882, New York City. The First Labor Day Parade.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.

A Nationwide Holiday

Women's Auxiliary Typographical Union

Many Americans celebrate Labor Day with parades, picnics and parties – festivities very similar to those outlined by the first proposal for a holiday, which suggested that the day should be observed with – a street parade to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.

Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

American labor has raised the nation’s standard of living and contributed to the greatest production the world has ever known and the labor movement has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.

from U.S. Department of Labor

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Why do we celebrate the 4th of July?

You may wonder, “Why do we celebrate the 4th of July? What does it mean?” Well, this day is incredibly significant in American history, as it marks the day the United States officially became its own nation. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776—and thus, America was born. American citizens celebrate America’s birthday with festivals, parades, fireworks, barbecues, sparklers, and other festive activities.

AFP CONTRIBUTOR/GETTY IMAGES

What led the colonists to seek independence?

Tensions started brewing when Great Britain began passing legislation that gave it more control within the colonies, especially when it came to taxing the colonists. The Crown was in debt after the French and Indian War, so it started taxing the American colonies to increase revenue. The passage of legislation like the Stamp Act in March 1765, the Townshend Acts in June and July of 1767, and the Tea Act of 1773 forced colonists to pay more money to Great Britain—even though the colonies didn’t have a say in the Crown’s policies. This became known as taxation without representation and quickly became a heated pillar in the foundation of the American Revolution.

What really happened on July 4, 1776?

painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1776 (by John Trumbull, American, 1756 - 1843), 1819. The painting shows the five-man drafting committee presenting the Declaration of Independence to the United States Congress, and is located in the Capitol rotunda. Oil on canvas.GRAPHICAARTIS/GETTY IMAGES

Fast-forward to a June 1776 Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. Here, Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee proposed a motion for the colonies to declare independence from Britain. A committee was formed to draft an official independence document, which became known as the Declaration of Independence. On July 2, 1776, Lee’s motion for independence was approved. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted—and America became a free nation. After declaring independence, America continued to fight in the Revolutionary War and officially defeated Great Britain in September 1783.

from Reader’s Digest

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May is Jewish American Heritage Month

We have so much to celebrate in May!

As well as AAPI Heritage Month, May is also Jewish American Heritage month.

Since Jewish Americans have been apart of the United States since the 1600s, it was only right1 that in the year 2006, former president George W. Bush labeled the month of May, Jewish American Heritage Month.

To get a taste of2 Jewish American culture in New York City, one highly recommended movie is called

The Chosen.

The movie is set in the 1940s. It is about two Jewish kids in Brooklyn who become friends. One boy is from a very conservative family, and the other boy is from a more liberal family. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations, and the formation of Israel cause many problems in their lives.

References :https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082175/

Click the website below to find more movies about Jewish American culture!

it was only right1 = it was the right thing to do/ it made sense

To get a taste of2 = to experience a little bit

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International Women’s Day

Hi all! Today is International Women’s Day, which has been celebrated every year on March 8th since 1977.

Around the world, women have always lacked rights and/or equal treatment. Even today, women are paid less than men, on average. In addition, women in almost every country lack full freedom to choose what they do with their own bodies when it comes to the issue of abortion.

Women’s Day invites us to recognize that this is wrong, and work towards reaching the day when full equality can be achieved.

Watch the video below to learn more about this day and women’s history:

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Happy Monday, all! This month (and every February) is Black History Month in the United States. During the whole month, we remember and honor the contributions of all the past and present figures who have impacted American history in different ways. It also reminds us of the ongoing movement to spread tolerance and equality while eliminating racism and discrimination.

Watch the video below to learn more.

QUIZ!

[qsm quiz=10]

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Fourth of July – Independence Day

The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. The Fourth of July 2021 is on Sunday, July 4, 2021; the federal holiday will be observed on Monday, July 5, 2021.

from history.com

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