Our Hardworking Ancestors

Created on 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.

Our Hardworking Ancestors

1915 Labor Day parade

1915 -- Labor Day Parade

Working in a coal mine, 1956

Jack Taeger, 1956

Pennsylvania breaker boys, 1911

Group of Breaker boys

Suffragettes marching on Labor Day, 1913

Suffragettes March - Labor Day '13

The company store, 1940

New Mexico company store

1916 streetcar strike

New York City streetcar strike

Actresses in 1908 Labor Day Parade

Labor Day Parade, carriages carrying actresses, New York

Great Pullman Strike

The Great Pullman Strike

After the Pullman strike, Congress created Labor Day as a national holiday.

Breaker boys, 1911

Breaker Boys from Hughestown Borough Pennsylvania

Firemen in Labor Day parade, 1929

Firemen's Labor Day parade, 1929
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