The Labor Day celebrations for early September are just a couple of weeks away. The traditional parade will take place on Monday, September 4th, and there will be a full-slate of fun and music around town to start the close out of summer while at the same time honoring the labor of this nation that has literally built the foundation upon which the United States has grown. Here’s the scoop on Labor Day Celebrations.
Origins of Labor Day
There’s dispute about the actual founder of Labor Day – some records indicate it to be Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor. But others claim that machinist Matthew Maguire, the eventual secretary of the Paterson, New Jersey Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists, first proposed the concept of a holiday to honor workers in 1882.
Whatever the exact evolution, the Central Labor Union in New York took up the idea. It celebrated the first holiday on September 5, 1882, and continued to do so for a few years with some other cities in various states joining in. The New York Legislature was the first to introduce a bill to make Labor Day a statewide holiday, but Oregon was the first state to adopt such a measure in 1887. Seven more years would pass, and 23 other states would start their own celebrations before Congress deemed it a federal holiday in 1894, marking the first Monday in each September as the holiday. The tradition of parades to celebrate the spirt of the American workforce, followed by a festival for workers and their families, was the common format of the holiday in cities around the country.
Rochester Labor and Film Series
Rochester’s labor history has its own interesting story. Rochesterlabor.org provides a rich supply of educational resources that conveys this history. And a highlight of the season is the popular Rochester Labor Film Series. From September 1st through November 3rd, with the exception of September 15th , a labor-related film will be screened at the Eastman House Dryden Theatre , 900 East Avenue, on Fridays at 7:30 PM. The films in the series span nearly a full century with the oldest being a 1925 silent with intertitles by the Soviet master filmmaker Eisenstein, and the most recent being the 2016 film In Dubious Battle based on the first of John Steinbeck’s dust bowl novels. It is directed by James Franco, who also stars in the film with Selena Gomez, among others. Documentaries, dramas, classics like 1976’s All The President’s Men, and a 1956 film written by the great Rod Serling are all on the slate of the series agenda. Of particular interest to Rochester, with our Kodak history, is a 2015 documentary about film projectionists who have been replaced in the digital age. It is called The Dying of The Light and will be screened on September 29th.
While technology changes labor, the human spirit adapts and continues to find ways to carry on. Enjoy this Labor Day before we all get back to work. A great fall market is just around the corner, so if you’d like to live a little closer to where you work, you can make your move! Contact me today!