1. Parades Galore
Library of Congress
2. Unions Uniting
Not only were the unions a big part of the reason the holiday was created, but they continued to be a big part of the celebrations for years to come. In fact, many of the early parades were made up largely of groups of different local union workers, like the Women’s Auxiliary Typographical Union pictured here in 1909.
3. Fundraising for Strikers
The parades also provided unions with a good opportunity to raise funds to support striking union workers, like this man was doing on behalf of the Furriers Union in 1915.
4. Fun and Games
Of course, like modern parades, there were still plenty of fun sources of entertainment for kids. These four clowns, for example, were happy to amuse the crowd in the Silverton, Colorado parade of 1940.
5. The Band Marches On
Similarly, even a small silver mining town like Silverton, Colorado had a high school marching band present to bring a little marching music to the parade, as you can see in this 1940 image by Russell Lee.
6. The Float with the Most
7. Patriots Unite
When WWII rolled around, the unions continued to provide floats for the parades, but they focused their float themes on patriotism and winning the war. In 1942, photographer Arthur S. Siegel captured the Detroit Local 600 of the Congress of Industrial Organizations showing their electrical workers electrocuting Hitler.