September 2, 2011 •
Highlighted Site Of The Week – Labor Day
Although it was not declared a national holiday until 1894, Labor Day was first celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. Preceding the first official demonstration in 1882, there was a tradition of celebrations in support of labor issues.
September 5, 1882 was in the midst of the labor movement, with many unions in New York entering into on Central Labor Union. The parade marched through lower Manhattan while being watched by columns of police and club-wielding officers on horseback who were prepared to squash any attempts to create a riot. The parade which began with a couple hundred marchers ended at Resovoir Park with somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 marchers.
After the parade, nearly 25,000 union members celebrated at Wendel’s Elm Park to listen to speeches, eat, smoke cigars, and take part in drinking the “Lager beer kegs… mounted in every conceivable place.”
Now the holiday is celebrated by all laborers, not just those who are union members. Although, Labor Day has become more commercialized and family oriented, it’s good to see that 129 years later the general spirit of Labor Day is still alive in the millions of people who celebrate it.
Everyone have a great holiday weekend!
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