The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The History Of The Labor Day Holiday

by Christy Kienast/The Quill

Did you know the first celebration of Labor Day was held on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, and that the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history was also held on this date. On that September day, 129 years ago, ten thousand workers marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York.

Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor first proposed the idea in May of 1882, but this fact of American history has been disputed. Some believe that Matthew Maguire, the Secretary of the Central Labor Union, was the man who first proposed the idea.

Whatever the case, Labor Day is a National holiday dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is often celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of summer. In fact, it use to be said in proper women's circles, that white shoes shouldn't be worn after this date, and women switched to their black heels.

Everyone who can, takes the Labor Day holiday off which leads to crowded roads and highways of families trying to get in their last vacation of the summer. Family barbecues and picnics are held to bid their farewell to summer.

The first state to recognize Labor Day as a holiday was Oregon in 1887.

It was seven years later on June 28, 1894 that President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a national holiday after an act of Congress.

The bill signed into law stated that Labor Day was to be celebrated the first Monday in September.

This bill was passed because of a labor strike in Chicago. Workers from the Pullman Palace Car Company went on strike to protest wage cuts and firing of their Union representatives.

The United States government sent in troops, creating a wave of riots that broke out, resulting in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. The bill was passed to help create peace with the American worker.

Since that time, Labor Day, has continued and has given the American Workers a Monday off, thus a long weekend with family and friends as a way of paying tribute to their work in building America.

This Labor Day we salute all the workers in our town and in our county, state and nation including those who serve our post offices, our city halls, our town and county boards,