Labor Day: Celebrating Workers Since 1894


Put away your white clothes and seersucker, today is Labor Day in the United States and Canada.

Here are some things you may not have known about the holiday.

In the U.S. the holiday was created to honor the American labor movement and workers’ contributions to the country.

The originator of the idea is disputed, with Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union and Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor being credited with the idea. The state of Oregon was the first to recognize Labor Day as a holiday in 1882. By the time it was made a federal holiday in 1894, 30 other states had already recognized it.

The decision to have the holiday on the first Monday of September was made by President Grover Cleveland, who was concerned that observing Labor Day on May 1, as it is in many places around the world, would strengthen socialist and anarchist movements.

The American version of the holiday was likely inspired by an 1882 labor festival in Toronto. Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson made Labour Day an official holiday in 1894.

Labor Day is considered to be the unofficial end of summer. The tradition of not wearing white or seersucker after Labor Day extends back to the late 19th century, but is not widely practiced today.

Our question: NASCAR traditionally runs which race on Labor Day weekend?

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Today is International Day of Charity and Teacher’s Day in India.

It’s unofficially National Be Late for Something Day, and National Cheese Pizza Day.

It’s the birthday of comedian Bob Newhart, who is 87; actress Raquel Welch, who is 76; and singer Freddie Mercury, who would have been 70.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1987, the top song in the U.S. was “La Bamba” by Los Lobos.

The No. 1 movie was “Stakeout,” while the novel “Patriot Games” by Tom Clancy topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

The U.S. Open in tennis, which is at its midpoint on Labor Day weekend, has been played on what three surfaces?


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