Back to Exhibits

(Frank Leslies' Illustrated, Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.)

First Labor Day parade, Union Square, 1882

NYC's newly formed Central Labor Union called for a public showing of labor's strength, and more than 30,000 members of the Knights of Labor and craft unions marched up Broadway and Fifth Avenue demanding an eight hour day. In 1998 the National Park Service designated Union Square a national historical landmark as the site of the first Labor Day observance, as well as a place where workers exercised their rights of free speech and assembly through many years of May Day parades, unemployed demonstrations and protest rallies.

© Copyright 2003, NYU Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives