Labor Day is not just the official end of summer.
Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the first Monday in September to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday. Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.Martin Luther King, Jr.
Because we have suffered, and we are not afraid to suffer in order to survive, we are ready to give up everything — even our lives — in our struggle for justice. We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure. When a man or woman, young, or old, takes a place on the picket line for even a day or two, he will never be the same again.Cesar Chavez
Topics for Discussion
- The Modern Labor Rights Movement
- The Power Of Agitating & Organizing
- Child Labor
- Minimum Wage
- Maternity/Paternity Leave
- The Gender & Race Wage Gap: Glass Ceilings
- The US Economy Runs On The Backbone of Exploited Black Labor
- The Effect of Exploitative Migrant Labor On Families
- Have we forgotten the true meaning of Labor Day?
- Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day? by History.com
- Labor Day Lesson Plan from PBS Media
- Beyond the BBQ by Miss Humblebee
- Labor Day Unit from Homeschool.com
- Labor Day Activities from Time4Learning
- 36 Labor Day Activities for Kids from Homeschool Superfreak
- Labor Day Resources from Homeschool Helper Online
- PreK Labor Day Resources from Simply Kinder
- Labor Day Emergent Reader from The Barefoot Teacher
- Printable Labor Day Lesson by Create by Faith
- Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
- I Like, I Don’t Like by Anna Baccelliere
- Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo
- How Mamas Love Their Babies by Juniper Fitzgerald
- Brick by Brick by Charles R. Smith Jr.
- Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Kids on Strike! Susan Campbell Bartoletti
- Kids at Work by Russell Freedman and Lewis Hine
- Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
- Breaker Boys: How a Photograph Helped End Child Labor by Michael Burgan
- Which Side Are You On? The Story of a Song by George Ella Lyon
- The Golden Thread: A Song for Pete Seeger by Colin Meloy
- Brave Girl – Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
- Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights by Mary C. Farrell
- On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children’s Rights by Monica Kulling
- Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop
- Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
- Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson
- Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream by Bruce Watson
- Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin
- The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jiménez
- Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
- Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah E. Warren
- Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La Historia de Dolores Huerta y César Chávez by Monica Brown
- César Chávez: A Triumph of Spirit by Richard A. Garcia and Richard Griswold del Castillo
- Roses for Isabella by Amy Córdova and Diana Cohn
- Joelito’s Big Decision/La Gran Decisión de Joelito by Ann Berlak
- Me and Momma and Big John by Mara Rockliff
- Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight by Duncan Tonatiuh
- ¡Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. by Diana Cohn
- Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan
- A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter by Fredrick McKissack and Patricia McKissack
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
- Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-twentieth-century South by Robert Korstad
Labor Day movies
- Norma Rae
- Blue Collar
- North Country
- Harlan County, U.S.A.
- Salt of the Earth
- The Pursuit of Happyness
- Cesar Chavez
- Bound for Glory
- The Grapes of Wrath
- On the Waterfront
- Measure of a Man
- The Wages of Fear
- The Organizer
- Erin Brockovich
- 9 to 5
- Working Girl
- Support the Girls
- Made in Dagenham
- Mr. Mom
- The Company Men
- The Hudsucker Proxy
- Glengarry Glen Ross
- Swimming With Sharks
- Boiler Room
- Night Shift
- Horrible Bosses
- Office Space
- Trading Places
- The Proposal
I learned the value of hard work by working hard.Margaret Mead
How can you support workers?
No one really cares what you post on social media or clapping or being honored at a parade or event. Workers need and want tangible rewards for doing what they do – better conditions, higher pay, protections for illness or injury, security. Respect their dignity.
Make sure you tip well. More than 20%. Don’t be insulting or rude. Service is a very difficult job.
Gifts for the services you use and appreciate most. Keep in mind that most workers can technically only accept gifts equally up to $20 or less. Don’t embarrass them or put them in an awkward position. A gift card, a homemade treat, a caffeine drink, a token is much appreciated.
Vote. Protest. Support public officials, government agencies, and private organizations who protect wage workers and their benefits.
Speak up and teach. Our kids need to see us fighting injustice. They need to know we are not silent and complicit.
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