Labor Day – More Than a Day Off!
By Von Terry
Growing up, Labor Day Weekend was an exciting time. It marks the “unofficial end of summer”. Plus, it was the start of so many new and wonderful adventures. Many summers, we’d spend a few weeks Georgia or Virginia with extended family. In the beginning, I didn’t enjoy trips down south but I grew to love and appreciate them. It was a fun and memorable time! Case in point, I now live in Atlanta, GA!
Born and raised in New Jersey, school always started a few days after Labor Day. Going back to school was an anxious but exhilarating time for me. It meant new school clothes, shoes, new school subjects to learn, extracurricular activities, and new teachers. If anyone knows me, they know how much I loved school and to learning new things! It also meant meeting new schoolmates, facing peer pressure and appearance scrutiny which was always nerve wrecking. Even with all the scary emotions, the start of the new school year was worth the week of sleepless nights.
Labor Day Weekend was also family fellowship time. My two aunts and my mother in law have birthdays in September. This was a time to honor them. Equally important, there are dozens of family members with September birthdays.By the same token, Labor Day Weekend is a perfect way to end the summer and celebrate their birthdays. In its own way, it’s almost our own “unofficial family holiday”.
Working class Blacks look forward to Labor Day Weekend for many reasons. Having a day off, even from one job was some relief, time to relax and be with loved ones. Something you rarely were able to do working two or more jobs! Without a doubt, my family was hardworking, loving and faithful.
Furthermore, the importance of Labor Day reaches far and wide in the Black community. Namely, George Pullman’s black train porters were not allowed to strike in the labor disputes. As a result, they formed their own strike which disrupted the railroad business and forced the president to declare a truce. Thereafter, Labor Day was founded after the Pullman Strike of 1894. Consequently, Black railroad workers finally formed the first black union in 1925 called the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters after they were denied access to white labor unions.
What does Labor Day mean?
Think about how Black America sacrificed to build this country. First and Foremost slaves, were paid nothing for hundreds of years of free labor. In addition, sharecroppers, servants, and domestic workers, have always been paid below market wages. Undoubtedly, this economic disadvantage limits our ability buy homes, businesses, invest and build generational wealth.
Whites have been able to invest their earnings and profits for several generations, in real estate, stocks and businesses. However, it can be useful and valuable time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. Start with investing and owning valuable assets such as real estate, stocks, mutual funds, collectibles, and businesses. Obviously, it is better late than never!
A day off can never be repayment for the hundreds of years of slavery and unpaid work forced upon us! On this very important and significant day, please pay respect to our ancestors who paved the way and fought for us to have more opportunities and choices! You’ve Earned It.
Happy Birthday to all the September Babies…We Love You!
Happy Birthday Aunt Carol, Sept. 1st ——– Happy Birthday Aunt Robin, Sept. 6th,
Happy Birthday Mom (Lorraine Lattimer RIP) Sept. 6th ——- Happy Birthday Lisa Lattimer, Sister, Sept. 8th,
Happy Birthday Gavin Camp, Sept 9th ——Happy Birthday Kyle Dixon, Cousin, Sept 13th
Happy Birthday Denise Payne, Dad, Sept 16th ——Happy Birthday Terri Sade Brooks, Cousin, Sept 19th
Happy Birthday Marcel Carr, Nephew, Sept 19th ——Happy Birthday Alicia Terry, Cousin, Sept 23rd
Happy Birthday Safia Chrissy Brooks, Cousin, Sept 30th