This Day in History

May 1: International Workers Day

Time Periods: 19th Century, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class

May 1 is International Workers’ Day. May Day began as a commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago. The day is officially recognized in much of the world, but not the United States.

Learn about the history of May Day from the Democracy Now! segment, “Historian Peter Linebaugh on “The Incomplete, True, Authentic & Wonderful History of May Day.”

Poster (c) Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio.

The Zinn Education Project offers lessons, books, films on labor history for students. Many are listed below.

We also recommend “The Labor Movement” poster by Ricardo Levins Morales. It can be ordered as a 11 x 17 poster or notecard.

The poster features the demands and victories of the Labor Movement over the decades and the words of Frederick Douglass:

Power concedes nothing without a demand – it never has, and it never will.

In honor of International Workers Day, please make a donation to the Zinn Education Project so that students learn the history of the labor movement and about labor struggles today.