The 1st of May, or “May Day” and sometimes called “International Workers Day,” has the unusual distinction of being a holiday that was born in the United States, but rarely receiving any official recognition here while at the same time being celebrated around the world. It was on this day, 1 May, in 1886 that thousands of workers in the larger industrial cities poured into the streets, demanding eight hours. The slogan of the time was “8 hours work, 8 hours for what we will.”
About 340,000 took part in demonstrations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other places. Of these nearly 200,000 actually went out on strike. About 42,000 won the eight -hour day. Another 150,000 got a shorter day than they had had before.