Labor Day was created by the labor movement to recognize the economic achievements of American workers. It has been celebrated as day to lay down your tools and to come together with other workers. To help you enjoy it, we are displaying selected books about the history of the labor movement and about some painters, printmakers, and photographers who depicted workers.
Look at the murals of David Alfaro Siqueros, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, the prints and drawings of Kathe Kollwitz, the photographs of Lewis Hine, Sebastiao Salgado, Edward Burtynsky and others.
Read about Minnesota's strong labor movement history and the violent reaction of business and police in response to strikes. We even have songbooks so you can sing the workers' melodies.
Come in and take a look; check out a book for the holiday. Samuel Gompers would approve.
Visual Resource Assistant
from the "Significance of Labor Day" by Samuel Gompers in the New York Times, Sept 4, 1910
"Among all the festive days of the year, of all the days commemorative of great epochs in the world's history, of all the days celebrated for one cause or another, there is not one which stands so conspicuously for social advancement to the common people as the first Monday in September of each recurring year-Labor Day.
Labor Day is the day conceded by no one class or set of people to another: It is the day of the workers..secured by the workers for the workers, and for all.
The struggle of labor is to free man from his own weakness, from his own cupidity, from his own unfair, unjust, and unnecessarily cruel environments. The struggle is for home and fireside, for a higher life, a noble manhood, womanhood, and childhood, which may look forward to the day of deliverance from absurd economic conditions and cruel burdens. The future will substitute the college and forum for the arsenal and jail; the home, and not the factory, for motherhood; the playground, school; and sunlight, and not the mill or workshop, for childhood."