Holiday & School Celebration

Labor Day honors the labor movement in the United States.

September 02
Calendar Activity Type
Holiday & School Celebration

Event Description

The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. It became an official federal holiday in 1894 and is now celebrated on the first Monday of September. Born out of the rise of unions as part of the American labor movement, the day is marked by parades, picnics, and other celebrations—and it marks the unofficial end of summer.

Classroom Activity

Students tend to know little more about Labor Day than it's a day off of work and school. Encourage them to learn more about the American labor movement by giving them time to research one of the figures from the list below. In paris or small groups, they can locate print and Web based resources about their lives and contributions to labor reform. Groups can use the Biocube Interactive to organize and share what they learn.

  • Jane Addams
  • Sarah Bagley
  • César Chávez
  • Samuel Gompers
  • Dolores Huerta
  • Mary Harris Jones
  • John L. Lewis
  • Lucy Randolph Mason
  • Luisa Moreno
  • Leonora O’Reilly
  • Albert and Lucy Parsons
  • Franics Perkins
  • Esther Peterson
  • A. Philip Randolph
  • Walter Reuther
  • Rosina Tucker


This page from the US Department of Labor explores the legislation behind Labor Day and the controversy over the identity of its originator.


The History Channel's section on Labor Day offers articles, videos, and speeches related to the holiday.


This Time Magazine article offers an accessible introduction to the history and significance of Labor Day.


The History Channel's section on the Labor Movement offers an overview of key figures in labor reform.

Related Resources