| May Day Festival, Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM
Outdoor Festival - Entertainment - Refreshments
|This year's May Day Festival will be a very special outdoor celebration on Sunday, May 1st 2011 at 1:00 PM at the Museum. Plans call for musical and vocal performances of folk and labor music by George Mann with Marty Confurius and Alan Podber, the New Jersey Industrial Union Council Solidarity Singers, lyric soprano Annamaria Stefanelli and folk rock musician
Ray Karona. Admission is $10, and refreshments will be served. Tours of the Museum will be available, and the exhibit Living Under the Trees by David Bacon will be on view.
May Day was born in America, growing out of the struggle for the eight-hour work day. At its 1884 convention, the American Federation of Labor unanimously adopted a resolution proposing that all labor join on May 1st, 1886 to establish an eight-hour day.
In March, 1886 Chicago locals of furniture makers, machinists, gas fitters, plumbers, iron molders, brickmakers, and freight handlers passed resolutions for a May 1st strike, if not given the eight-hour day by that date. Early in April, 35,000 stockyard workers voted to join the walkout. By the last week in April it was estimated that 62,000 Chicago workers had pledged to strike on May 1st. Another 25,000 Chicago workers demanded the eight-hour day without threatening strike.
May 1st was a beautiful Saturday in Chicago, an ordinarily a day of work. But crowds of workers, accompanied by their wives and children, were assembling for a parade on Michigan Avenue. Among the many thousands that marched were Bohemians, Germans, Poles, Russians, Irish, Italians, Negroes and former cowboys who now worked in the stockyards. There were Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, Anarchists and Republicans, Communists and Democrats, Socialists, Single-Taxers and just plain people, all demonstrating for the eight-hour day.
This first great demonstration for the eight-hour work day in the United States was not forgotten. In 1889 leaders of the organized labor movement in various countries met in Paris. After hearing reports of what happened in America, they voted to support the eight-hour-day fight and designate May 1st, 1890 for an international day of demonstrations, parades and meetings. May Day has been celebrated all over the world ever since.
This project is funded, in part, by the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College, made possible in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts / Department of the State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.