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Celebrate and remember America’s workers

milton public library

As you light your barbecue for the last long weekend of summer, don’t forget why America celebrates Labor Day.

In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill declaring the first Monday in September a national holiday to pay tribute to the nation’s workers and their achievements. Yet labor unions were far from declaring victory.

This Friday, an exhibit titled “Workers’ Struggles” will open at the Milton Public Library, featuring posters that illustrate the efforts of workers to secure fair wages and working conditions. They are part of a collection of nearly 7,000 items owned by Stephen Lewis, a retired union leader and continuing activist. The show in the Wotiz Gallery continues throughout September.


Lawrence will remember its own labor history when it holds its 33rd Bread & Roses Heritage Festival on Monday, Sept. 4. The free, multicultural celebration commemorates the 1912 textile workers strike, when a group of mostly immigrant women walked off the job to protest reductions in pay. More than 25,000 workers across the city joined the strike, drawing national attention to their cause.

The festival begins at 11:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony at the Strikers’ Monument and features music, family activities, and tours throughout the day. Don’t miss the Bread and Puppet Theater performing from 4:20 to 5:15 p.m. For more information, visit breadandrosesheritage.org.

Food, live music, and dancing will abound this weekend at the Greek Festival hosted by Sts. Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church in Marlborough. The festival takes place from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and from noon to 5 p.m on Monday, Sept. 4. For more details, go to www.stsanargyroi.org.

The East Coast Greenway Alliance is celebrating its 25th anniversary by holding a series of events over nearly 10 weeks from Maine to Florida. On Sunday, it will host a Charles River walking tour in Waltham. Meet at Landry Park, 154 Moody St., at noon for a tour and wildlife talk led by the Waltham Land Trust. From 1 to 1:30 p.m., visit Watch City Bike Lab at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation. For more information, go to www.greenway.org.


Leslie Anderson can be reached at leslie.anderson@globe.com.