Labor Day Stories
  • Sep 8, 2020 1:00 am
  • 56:50 mins

In 1882, the citizens of New York, if they could get off work on a Monday, could watch the very first Labor Day parade, organized by New York’s labor unions to celebrate the contributions of the American worker, and to lobby for improved working conditions – like an 8-hour work day, for example. Two years later, Labor Day was a national holiday.  In this hour of The Apple Seed, you’ll hear stories about Labor Day, and also about labor itself – good, old-fashioned work. You’ll hear about a visit to the State Fair from Kevin Kling, and a poem about taking pride in your work from cowboy poet Joe Herrintgon. You’ll hear one of America’s most famous work stories: the story of John Henry, the steel-drivin’ man, in Charlotte Blake Alston’s “Hammers of Steel Rang Out.” You’ll also hear memories and thoughts about labor and Labor Day gathered from the Apple Seed family: from memories of summer romance to the struggle for better working conditions in Kenya. And we’ll wrap it up with an original work song from Sam and his musical pals about the building of a tunnel through a mile of rock in the 1920s.  In this hour of the Apple Seed, enjoy the following: “State Fair” by Kevin Kling  There was a time when elementary schools would take their first field trips of the new school year to the state fair. And this often occurred before Labor Day. Perhaps you have memories of the sights, sounds, and even smells of the state fair.  If so, Kevin Kling’s story, "State Fair" ought to bring those memories flooding back to you. “Hammers of Steel Rang Out” by Charlotte Blake Alston Here's one of the most famous work stories in American Folklore, the story of John Henry – steel driving man – shared with you by an Apple Seed favorite, Pennsylvania storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston. Per usual, Alston uses music to great effect.  “The Fence” by Joe Herrington  Here's a cowboy poem from our friend, Joe Herrington, about the building of a fence. It’s a poem that will remind you to make good work a point of pride in your life. In an hour of the Apple Seed filled with stories not just of labor day, but of labor, here’s Joe Herrington, with “The Fence.”  “In This Thing for the Money” by Sam Payne  goodl, old-fashioned work, with a little work song. It was written to honor the workers on the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel, built to provide greater access and shorter route for tourists trying to hit all the big Western National Parks in the 1920s. The tunnel cuts along the edge of Zion National Park in Southern Utah, and it was built right on the cusp of the depression – during the three years between 1927 and 1930. Here is Sam, along with some of his pals, Ryan Tilby, Steve Lemmon, and Nic Chamberlain, with a song about work, written about the guys who worked on that tunnel.