Labor Day is an ‘Irish’ Holiday too

The true meaning of the forgotten holiday for working men and women
By Patricia McCarthy, Irish America Editor

Labor Day is a little like Christmas &emdash; people have forgotten the meaning of it. They just want the presents, the birth of Christ gets lost somewhere in the wrappings.

The significance of Labor Day gets lost too &emdash; in the sandwiches at the beach on the last day of summer. But as you throw another hot dog on the Barbie, spare a thought for McGuire, Maguire, Jones, Quill and Sweeney &endash; to name just a few of the many great Irish labor leaders.

Mary “Mother” Jones was born Mary Harris in Cork in the early 1800s. She immigrated to Canada, lost her husband and her four children in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis, all her possessions in the Chicago fire, and as a woman in her 50s went on to become one of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World. Her work with the United Mine Workers earned her the title “Angel of the Camp.”

One of the many contributions that Mother Jones is remembered for is the work she did on behalf of the wives and children of strikers, and the 1905 children’s march she led from Kensington, Pennsylvania, to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home on Long Island, New York, to protest child labor (children as young as seven worked on the slag heaps in Pennsylvania).

To view more of the article, please read it over at the Irish Central website. They are the originators of this content.