Our Hardworking Ancestors

posted Sep 05, 2016 by Kathy Pinna
Long days, backbreaking work, low pay: In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the average American worked 7 days a week, 12 hrs a day just to survive. Even children as young as 5 or 6 would work in order to help their families. Imagine working every waking hour just to fill your belly and the bellies of those you loved!

Labor unions were created to enforce better wages, working hours, and even paid vacations for workers. In 1894, Labor Day became a federal holiday as a tribute to the contribution of all of those who labored on behalf of the U.S. These photos show their tough jobs as well as some of the turn of the century parades in honor of them.

Coal miner, 1923

1915 Labor Day parade

Working in a coal mine, 1956

Pennsylvania breaker boys, 1911

Suffragettes marching on Labor Day, 1913

The company store, 1940

1916 streetcar strike

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