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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Flag Waving: Labor Day in the Heartlands, 1939-1942


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Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations
: Anton Bruehl, August 1942

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Labor Day, Greendale, Wisconsin: photo by John Vachon, September 1939


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Park scene, Labor Day, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: photo by John Vachon, September 1939


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Spectators at Labor Day parade in Du Bois, Pennsylvania: photo by Jack Delano, September 1940


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Labor Day parade at Du Bois, Pennsylvania: photo by Jack Delano, September 1940


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Spectators and theatre at Labor Day parade in Du Bois, Pennsylvania: photo by Jack Delano, September 1940


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Spectators at Labor Day parade in Du Bois, Pennsylvania: photo by Jack Delano, September 1940


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Detroit, Michigan. Ford workers carrying flag and banners in the Labor Day parade: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942


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Detroit, Michigan. Local 600 of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO); electrical workers electrocuting Hitler in the Labor Day parade
: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942


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Detroit, Michigan. Outhouse and clown at Labor Day parade with plea for buying of war bonds
: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942

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Detroit, Michigan. Women workers parading in the Labor Day parade
: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942

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Detroit, Michigan. Float in the Labor Day parade showing Uncle Sam as a huge blacksmith
: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942

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Detroit, Michigan. Murray Local Number Two of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) float in the Labor Day parade illustrating "Wings of the Victory" depending on air power
: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942

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Detroit, Michigan. Spectators at the Labor Day parade: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942


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Detroit, Michigan. Float in the Labor Day parade showing relationship between the Army, Red Cross and industrial workers
: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942

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Detroit, Michigan. Workers' wives and children watching the Labor Day parade: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942


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Detroit, Michigan. Little girl carrying American flag in the Labor Day parade: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, September 1942


Photos from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

11 comments:

David Grove said...

I'm in Detroit, just a couple miles from where all that happened. The change is unbelievable.

There are no women workers parading down Woodward Ave now. Just working girls.

Ed Baker said...

well
what strike me squarely be
-tween the eyes is that

warfare assembled this country & now
warfare is disassembling it...

even that Detroit Plymouth sedan the Ford too!
and the Hudson Hornet well they not only looked like tanks we called the tanks ... chrome and steel

neat photos ... like it was yesterday or was that
the
here today and gone tomorrow mantra ?

vazambam said...

Of all these striking photographs, one strikes me the most--the one with Honest Abe, head bent in deep thought, surrounded by the hoi polloi, a lot of them (one would hope) also with heads bent in deep thought.

TC said...

Vassilis, The humility of Lincoln lost in thought and the disarming smile of the woman beneath and toward the foreground, looking off toward the little girl in striped dress at left -- the most hopeful moment here for me, as well.

(It typifies the dignity and distance in work of John Vachon, a young man from the Midwest who was a file clerk at the Farm Security Administration, when out of the blue someone put a camera in his hands... and he became perhaps the most remarkable of the many great documentary photographers who worked for the FSA in its brief but extraordinarily productive life, from the late Thirties over into the first year of the War -- when historical documentation gave way to propaganda, as the FSA became the Office of War Information.)

And so...there remains Uncle Sam "hammering out a warning" upon the obdurate anvil of thought, in front of Sam's Theatre (it's all in the family), representing the tank armorers.

("Well they not only looked like tanks we called the[m] tanks"-- from The Wit and Wisdom of Ed B.)

The electricians' unionists, on the other hand, seem relatively untroubled by cerebration of any kind, in putting their not-queer shoulders to the task of electrocuting Hitler beneath the sign of Imperial Whiskey.

While researching the post I was put in mind of earlier not-dissimilar searches through the Deutsches Bundesarchiv photo files from the same period, uncovering similar imagery, but of course everything in reverse -- the execution of Mickey Mouse & c.

Anthropology will be anthropology. Boys will be boys. Wars will be wars.

Oh, and, yes, gratefully, as David reminds -- girls will be girls (maybe).

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Yes, there they are, Tom, the faces that have disappeared, literally in more ways than one. Such different faces.

The 2nd to last "Workers' Wives and Children" particularly - the long gone looks - unsettling for me.

Don

Phillip said...

Thanks Tom for posting these amazing images.

TC said...

Don, Phillip, many thanks.

The unselfconscious, unposed, unsorted variety of faces in these "long gone" crowds remains very moving for me.

A pleasure to share the morning with you both.

gamefaced said...

working more for less and less.

TC said...

Or for that matter... for nothing at all.

gamefaced said...

merely the right to potentially exist. ...potentially.

TC said...

With an emphasis on the "if", an accent on the "maybe", and the definite promise of a "dream on".