Monday, September 04, 2006

How labor won its day

The corporate media will not even mention the history behind Labor Day. We can't know where we are going, if we don't know where we have come from. Please take the time to read:

How labor won its day
By Patricia K. Zacharias / The Detroit News

History has almost forgotten Peter McGuire, an Irish-American cabinet maker and pioneer unionist who proposed a day dedicated to all who labor. Old records describe him as a red-headed, fiery, eloquent leader of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.
The Father of Labor Day, Peter J. McGuire of New York City, in 1882 introduced the idea for the holiday.

McGuire introduced his idea formally at a meeting of the Central Labor Union on May 18,1882. "Let us have, a festive day during which a parade through the streets of the city would permit public tribute to American Industry," he said. The following September New York workers staged a parade up Broadway to Union Square. Few, if any, workers got the day off. Most were warned against marching in the parade with the threat of getting fired. Despite the warning, more than 10,000 workers showed up for the march. Led by mounted police, bricklayers in white aprons paraded with a band playing "Killarney." The marchers passed a reviewing stand crowded with Knights of Labor: a holiday was born. McGuire's holiday moved across the country as slowly as did recognition of the rights of the working man. Read entire article here.

For a download of an early Labor Day parade, by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in 1904, click here. It shows a parade through bunting-draped streets, probably in the town of Leominster, Mass. First, a decorated grandstand bearing the banner "Leominster heartily greets its guests" is seen, and then the camera pans to the street where the parade is to be photographed.

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