I saw this on MyHeritage today – Who Really Founded Labor Day?: https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/09/who-really-founded-labor-day/. Thought it would be interesting to do a cliffhanger as to the possibilities in the article.
by Talya September 3, 2020
While Labor Day may now be associated with great sales, tasty barbeques, and the last hurrah of summer, the origins of the day tell a completely different tale. The day was originally established to honor the laborers and workers in the United States — and it wasn’t just about recognition and celebration.
During the industrial revolution, laborers throughout the world dealt with extremely harsh and inhumane conditions. With no labor laws yet in place, employers were under no legal obligation to provide their workers with the rights we all take for granted today: minimum wage, a safe work environment, basic hygienic commodities, and so on. Those rights only became commonplace thanks to the hard work of men and women who fought for them, sometimes risking their jobs, their freedom, and even their lives to protest the terrible conditions.
Labor Day was an initiative to raise awareness of the situation and help elevate the status of these workers who were sometimes treated as little more than slaves. It began with a parade in New York City on September 5, 1882, and the first Monday of September was slowly adopted throughout the United States as an official holiday celebrating workers.
Most sources credit a man named Peter McGuire with the invention of the concept of Labor Day. However, evidence has come to light that there may have been someone else — another trade union leader with a similar last name — who actually suggested the idea.
So who really founded Labor Day? Our Research team dug into newspaper collections to investigate.