May Day had been a day to remember the struggles of workers who were killed or oppressed in their fight for better wages and working conditions.
At least two politically motivated changes were made in America’s May Day, the more widespread International Workers’ Day.
In 1894 President Cleveland was concerned that observance of May 1 as Labor Day would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair. Following workers’ deaths during the Pullman Strike, labor movement reconciliation was expedited. In six days, legislation making Labor Day the first Monday in September went into law.
In 1958 President Eisenhower perceived May Day as too communist and made May 1 Law Day. He stated: “In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law. If civilization is to survive it must choose the rule of law.”
Now, immigrants become citizens and attorneys visit schools and talk to students about the American legal system.
Maypole dances, with beautiful schoolchildren weaving colorful ribbons around a pole are gone.
This baby boomer lawyer still feels May Day in his heart.