Teaching Labor Day

Today is Labor Day in the United States. It's another holiday - like Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Flag Day - that is losing any meaning to young people other than being a day off.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. The observance, organized by the Central Labor Union in New York as a day of rest for working persons, was later moved to the first Monday in September.

While most other countries celebrate workers on May 1 of each year, U.S. President Grover Cleveland supported a September date to avoid associations with the Chicago Haymarket riot in May of 1886. He signed a bill into law making the September Labor Day observance a federal holiday in 1894.

Here are some videos via learner.org that you can use to teach Labor Day.

"Industrializing America"  http://www.learner.org/courses/amerhistory/units/14/ Unit 14 of America's History in the Making, looks at how industrialization required new labor markets and spawned the rise of the labor movement.

A Biography of America, Unit 17, "Capital and Labor" http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/prog17/ takes a look at historic labor developments in the U.S.

For a look at how industrialization changed society - drawing women into the labor force and, later, the labor movement - see "The Lowell
System: Women in a New Industrial Society," http://www.learner.org/workshops/primarysources/lowell/introduction.html Program 3 of Primary Sources.

See how larger economic issues drive labor migrations in Europe and America in Program 5 of Inside the Global Economy. http://www.learner.org/resources/series86.html

Get a better understanding of the development and role of labor unions with Economics U$A
http://www.learner.org/resources/series79.html  Program 22, "Labor and Management."

Consider the impact of employment and labor issues on a more personal level with Growing Old in a New Age
http://www.learner.org/resources/series84.html Program 9, "Work, Retirement, and Economic Status."

See how labor issues have impacted literature in American Passages: A Literary Survey, Unit 12, "Migrant Struggle."

Also see context activities for Unit 11, "Modernist Portraits," http://www.learner.org/amerpass/unit11/context_activ-2.html  which address the impact of industrialization on the lives of workers.


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