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A look back at Labor Day

Mon., Sept. 7, is Labor Day.  Many working men and women will enjoy a day off from their jobs on that day.  Labor Day is always observed on the first Monday in September.  It first began to be observed in the mid-1880s when a few municipalities began to designate a certain day as “Labor Day” to call attention the important role played by laboring men and women to making America s strong and prosperous nation.  Oregon was the first state to have a statewide Labor Day, and it was followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.  As of the mid-1890s, close to half of the states had designated a special day on which to honor working men in all trades and occupations.  Finally, a decade after the Labor Day movement had begun, Congress enacted legislation designating the first Monday in September of each year as Labor Day.

It was originally contemplated that Labor Day would be filled with celebrations, beginning with a parade in the downtown part of a community to show the unity of laboring people. After the parade had concluded there would be all kinds of recreational activities in which workers and their families could enjoy themselves and meet and make friends with their fellow-workers employed in different places in the community.

In Alabama, as elsewhere, it also became to have speeches at  Labor Day gatherings, especially by politicians who were viewed as friendly both to organized labor and to governmental activities favored by unions.

Here are some items related to Labor Day as celebrated in Alabama:

Aug. 24, 1909—Labor Day will be celebrated in Morgan County this year in Morgan County under the auspices of the Rural Free Delivery Carriers Association.  Democratic Congressman William Richardson, successor to Gen. Joe Wheeler in the U.S. House, will speak.

Sept. 3, 1929–Labor Day officially opened the early dove season in Alabama. The season will close Sept. 30 and will reopen Nov. 20, when the new quail season also will be inaugurated.  Many men used their day off Monday to go hunting.

Sept. 4, 1947–Mr. and Mrs. Willard Nelson, and sons, Jimmy and Charles, visited their parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Nelson, and Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Gibson during the Labor Day holidays.

Sept. 3, 1955–Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stoner of Birmingham are spending the Labor Day (holidays [miscellaneous]) weekend with Mrs. Stoner’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Pattillo.

Sept. 1, 1958—In observance of Labor Day both of Hartselle’s new car dealerships, Stewart Bros. And Nicholson Motors, were closed in order to give their dedicated employees a well-deserved day off.

Sept, 5, 1960—Most Hartselle businesses—except for grocery stores—were closed today in observance of Labor Day.  Barber shops are taking a longer break and will be closed tomorrow as well.

Aug. 29, 1962—MCHS student Pat Giles has entered the Miss Labor Day pageant to be held in Decatur on Monday.  She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Giles.

Sept, 1, 1980—The Hartselle Church of Christ has a new minister beginning with this Labor Day. He is Mr. Philip Hines, a graduate of International Bible College (now Heritage Christian University) in Florence with a B.A. in Bible.  He later earned an M.A. from Southern Christian University in Montgomery (now Ambridge University).  (With the 2015 Labor Day, Mr. Hines observes 35 years of continuous ministry with the same congregation.  This is a remarkable record and may be unique among Hartselle churches.)

Aug. 26, 2013—There will be a Labor Day softball “shootout” (September 2).  The entry fee is admittedly steep $275.  However, all proceeds will go to the John Mark Stallings Snap Playground at Sparkman Park.  As most people know, the late John Mark Stallings was the son of former UA head football coach Gene Stallings. He was born with Down’s syndrome and suffered from multiple health problems due to a congenital heart defect.  He passed away in 2008.