The History of Labor Day

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Labor Day,is a legal holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, and the Virgin Islands. The celebration of Labor Day, in honor of the working class, it was first suggested by Peter J. McGuire, founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. It was initiated in the U.S. in 1882 by the Knights of Labor, who held a large parade in New York City. In 1884 the group held a parade on the first Monday of September and passed a resolution to hold all future parades on that day and to designate the day as Labor Day. In March 1887, the first state law to declare the day a legal holiday was passed in Colorado, followed by New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. In 1894 the U.S. Congress made the day a legal holiday. Parades, and speeches by labor leaders and political figures, mark Labor Day celebrations.

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Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor made the following comment: "Labor Day differs in every essential from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day ... is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

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Labor Day is celebrated in Canada on the first Monday in September. The first parades and rallies to honor workers were held in 1872 in Ottawa and Toronto, and the September date was officially recognized by Parliament in 1894.


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Annie's Labor Day Christian Page
First Labor Day Parade
Labor Day
The History of Labor Day
An Eclectic List of Events in U.S. Labor History
Short History of American Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Department of Labor
A Celebration of Labor in America


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