Labor Day: A Chapter in American History

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Labor Day is more than a transitional long weekend taking us from summer to fall. Although we currently mark the weekend with end-of-summer cookouts or one last trip to the beach, the first Labor Day holidays were intended to send a powerful message about the rights and privileges of hardworking American men and women.

Historically, Labor Day was loosely celebrated throughout the early part of the 1800s, but it was first officially observed in 1882. Facilitated by the Central Labor Union in New York, the day was marked by a parade and a massive picnic in New York City’s Wendel’s Elm Park, which at that time was the largest park in the city.

Commencing with a handful of participants, the parade began, marching toward the park. Along the parade route, more workers joined the march, with many of them sacrificing a day’s pay in order to participate. By the time the parade reached the park, it was 10,000 marchers strong and as the day continued, attracted over 25,000 people who gathered for the picnic.

As word of the event spread, and the spirit of a “workingmen’s holiday” was enthusiastically shared, observance of Labor Day grew. In 1887, Labor Day was established as a state holiday in New York, New Jersey, and Colorado. Over the years more states adopted the holiday, and in 1894, Labor Day became a national legal holiday, to be observed on the first Monday of September.

At Fulcrum Partners, we’ll be celebrating the long weekend and hope you will be too. We wish you a safe, fun-filled, and restful holiday as we all enjoy this well-earned “working men and working women’s holiday”.

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