Tag: history

Learn the history behind St. Patrick’s Day

Arynn Williams, Correspondent

As March approaches, we are enjoying the last hurrah of the winter season. Right before spring begins, one last holiday can be celebrated: St. Patrick’s Day. Known for being perhaps the greenest day of the year, the holiday is celebrated in America primarily as an excuse to party, but what are the origins of St. Patrick’s Day?

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OPINION: It’s not Presidents Day; it’s Washington’s Birthday

Zachary Grizzard, Correspondent

Presidents Day, also known as George Washington’s Birthday, is most commonly known as a day that we get out of school or potentially off from work (sorry private sector employees). As history tells us, Presidents Day is a good way to recognize our leaders through time and be appreciative of where we have come as a nation. Many people, however, do not know the reason we celebrate Presidents Day, the original name, or how it even came to be.

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JSU to celebrate Labor Day

Tiffany Lang, News Correspondent

Jacksonville State University classes won’t meet Monday, Sept. 2 due to Labor Day. For students, it’s a free day to stay home, but Labor Day is an annual celebration intended to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of the American workforce.

Dr. Gordon Harvey, Head of the History Department, wants students to know that Labor Day is “more than a three day weekend where we binge college football and burn slabs of meat over charcoal.” 

He pointed out that Labor Day parades were started by organized labor as a way to show solidarity among the working class. Now, the national holiday celebrates the contributions of organized labor to our quality of life, said Harvey. 

“So this Labor Day, as you cook out and watch football, thank unions for the 8 hour day, the weekend, the minimum wage, employer-based healthcare and worker safety standards – all things we take for granted today,” said Harvey. 

Labor Day originated in the late 1800s, during one of American labor history’s darkest chapters and at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

During this time, the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, to earn a basic living. Children as young as 5 years old were put to work in mills, factories and mines across the country and were paid a fraction of what their adult counterparts earned. 

Workers of all ages were facing unsafe working conditions with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks. 

As employment numbers increased in the manufacturing industry, labor unions began to grow more prominent and vocal. Strikes and rallies were organized to protest poor working conditions and to compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay.

One of these events gave rise to the longstanding tradition of Labor Day. On September 5, 1882, approximately 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from city hall to Union Square in New York City. This event was recognized as the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it.

Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later, after a string of violent protests brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view.

Finally in 1894, Congress declared Labor Day a public holiday. By June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland officially signed it into law. 

Amidst the approaching Labor Day holiday, AT&T workers across nine Southeastern states have gone on strike over unfair labor practices. This accusation comes after the Communications Workers of America union says that AT&T disrespected workers by sending labor relations experts to negotiate contracts that didn’t have any authority to make contract decisions. 

CWA has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against AT&T for not bargaining in good faith. 

More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified.

Wanderlust: JSU’s summer exchange programs

JSU students interested in traveling or studying abroad are in luck. This year, JSU is offering several study abroad trips. These trips give students the opportunity to travel all over the globe to a variety of countries. Most trips have been held in past years, allowing students to learn a lot and tour many historic sites such as the Coliseum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Shanghai, a 2000 year old restaurant in China, and other incredible places in history.

By studying abroad, students get the opportunity to experience a brand new country with different and new outlooks, new customs and activities. Most people that take these trips find that by immersing themselves in the education system of a different country is the best way to experience and understand the people, traditions, and culture of that country. Education is the centerpiece of any study abroad trip—it is, after all, a study abroad program—and choosing the right trip is a very important factor. Luckily, JSU offers students many different options.

The JSU history department is sponsoring one trip to Rome trip this year. There are currently three seats available. They will be traveling from May 6 to May 27. Students interested can contact Dr. Donald Prudlo at dprudlo@jsu.edu.

If you want to travel to Italy but would rather study the art rather than the history, the JSU art department is also hosting a trip to Florence, Italy during the summer. This trip will take place from May 6 until June 26. For further information, contact Professor Jauneth Skinner at jauneths@jsu.edu.

The JSU Honors Program is hosting their annual trip to study at Taizhou University in Linhai, China. This trip has been held each year since the summer of 2012, and has been a great success in the Honors department.

Yet another trip students can experience is a trip to Japan in the summer through a program offered at our partner school: Kansai Gaidai University.  This course is a 6-week program offered by the Asian Studies Program at Kansai Gaidai, located between Kyoto and Osaka.  The deadline for applications will be March 20. More information and the application can be found on the JSU website.

If none of these trips spark interest, never fear—there are a few more study abroad trips available through JSU’s consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. There are a variety of different locations to travel and study. For more information about these, you can contact Dr. Joe Delap at jdelap@jsu.edu.

Lyndsey Bonner
Staff Writer