December 28, 1869 : America’s first Labor Day

Introduction

The Knights of Labor, a labor union of tailors in Philadelphia, hold the first Labor Day ceremonies in American history. The Knights of Labor was established as a secret society of Pennsylvanian tailors earlier in the year and later grew into a national body that played an important role in the labor movement of the late 19th century.

The first annual observance of Labor Day was organized by the American Federation of Labor in 1884, which resolved in a convention in Chicago that “the first Monday in September be set aside as a laborer’s national holiday.” In 1887, Oregon became the first state to designate Labor Day a holiday, and in 1894 Congress designated the first Monday in September a legal holiday for all federal employees and the residents of the District of Columbia.

Article Details:

December 28, 1869 : America’s first Labor Day

  • Author

    History.com Staff

  • Website Name

    History.com

  • Year Published

    2010

  • Title

    December 28, 1869 : America’s first Labor Day

  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/americas-first-labor-day

  • Access Date

    October 17, 2017

  • Publisher

    A+E Networks