Peaceful And Violent Protests Today Versus Yesterday

posted Mar 24, 2018 by Kathy Pinna
May Day was a pre-Christian holiday for centuries. Held anywhere from April 27 to May 1st, it was a celebration of Spring that included dancing, lots of flowers, and festivals. Up until the mid-20th century, dancing around the Maypole was still a popular activity - as was surprising people with small baskets of flowers hung on their doors.

But in the late 1800's, the character of celebrations began to change. It became a day for workers to march and advocate for worker's rights and in some countries such as the Soviet Union, a day to show off military might. May 1st is now celebrated in most countries around the world and is a day set aside to honor the laborers of the world.

The past few decades, May 1st has become a day to march and protest - often, the focus is on everything from immigrants' rights to LGBT awareness to police misconduct. Take a look at some of the protests from the past century and see if they appear any different from now.

Protests of the past century 19th century strikes that resulted in strikers being shot by police, housewives protesting the high price of food (1917), garbage workers refusing to haul garbage (1911), political prisoners in the U.S (1922), protesters against the passage of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment, which would have guaranteed women equal rights - 1970's)... the United States has a long and diverse history of protests and strikes. Do you know about the following demonstrations? Test your knowledge of U.S. history, good and bad.

How May Day used to be celebrated

A 1939 photo in Georgia of the May Queen and her court dancing around a Maypole.

Silent protest parade

1917 New York City

In Spring of 1917, during World War I, a labor and race riot broke out in East St. Louis, Illinois. 3,000 white men had marched downtown and began attacking African Americans. Estimates vary widely but it is believed that around 100 blacks were killed. This silent march in New York City involved 10,000 people.

Protesting the high cost of food

1917 New York.

Sending the kids out to picket

1919, Washington D.C.

Rally of the unemployed

1909 New York.

Protesting for better wages and hours . . .

And against police brutality.

Vigilantes hired for railroad strike control

1916 Ohio.

Vietnam war protest

Also supporting Eartha Kitt, 1968.

Stop ERA demonstration

1977 protest against the Equal Rights Amendment (which would have created equal rights for women).

Oh, the smell!

Garbage strike, 1911 NYC.

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