With the Labor Day weekend ahead, it’s a perfect time to remember that taking a break is good for our health. Time away from work, daily routines, and the demands of everyday life are important ways to keep stress levels in check, maintain productivity and prevent burnout. Taking a break is now even more important as we cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our daily lives.
Our ability to take time off this and other weekends is the very essence of the Labor Day observance. Labor Day was established to honor the American labor movement and its workers’ economic and social justice accomplishments. The origins of Labor Day go back to the Industrial Revolution where working conditions for adults and children often included 12 hours a day for six or seven days a week, low pay, poor working conditions and virtually no employers provided their workers with sick days, paid vacation days or health benefits.
Labor Day as a holiday started at the state level. The first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. The Central Labor Union organized a parade of 10,000 workers who walked off their jobs and demanded a “workingmen’s holiday.” In July 1894, following the famous Pullman strike and the bloody Haymarket affair, U.S. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill that would make Labor Day a national public holiday.
In addition to the Labor Day observance on Monday, there are other noteworthy events this weekend. First, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place on Saturday, postponed from the traditional first Saturday in May because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Next, Sunday is National Read a Book Day. We know that reading provides many benefits, yet many adults struggle to find time to read.
This Weekend Reading Series begins with There’re Off, providing articles with current and historical Kentucky Derby information. Read about the Greg Harbut, the black owner of a horse slated to run tomorrow, questioning if he should boycott the race in support Black Lives Matter. Next, in Bookworm, find tips to get back into reading as well as some popular adult and children books. And last, and by no means least, Labor Day Strong, revisits the history of how the strength of unions and workers resulted in the Labor Day holiday. Check out some ideas to celebrate the holiday, like an ice cream social, or backyard movies!
So relax, make some s’mores, a root beer (or Vernors) float and enjoy the following:
1. There’re Off
Lexington Herald Leader: Here is the origin of every horse’s name in the 2020 Kentucky Derby
New York Times: Pull Out of the Kentucky Derby? Pressure on a Black Owner Mounts
Kentucky Derby During WWII: Tales Of Tanks And Turtles, Stories Of Streetcars And Segregation
America’s Best Racing Nine Memorable Kentucky Derby Upsets
Medium: 8 Unusual Tips For Finding Time to Read
NPR Life Kit: How To Focus While Reading
All Labor Has Dignity by Martin Luther King, Jr. – collection of previously unpublished speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. focusing on his vision of economic justice and demand for equality. All Labor has Dignity includes several of King’s lectures to unions from the 1960s.
Washington Post: What the country is reading during the pandemic: Dystopias, social justice and steamy romance
NPR: Welcome To Story Hour – 100 Favorite Books For Young Readers
3. Labor Day Strong
TIME: Who Was the Real ‘Father of Labor Day’? The Answer Is Complicated
HISTORY: Labor day history, and more
TIME: Beyond Labor Day: 3 Ways Unions Have Helped American Workers
Country Living: 20 Labor Day Activities to Soak Up the Last Moments of Summer
Enjoy the weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]