Reflect on the labor ahead this Labor Day

Reflect on the labor ahead this Labor Day
September 01
07:50 2016

Labor Day is Monday. While many people are looking forward to a day of shopping and relaxation, we should take time to reflect on Labor Days past.

According to, Labor Day has been paying tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers as a federal Holiday since 1894. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century.

America’s labor force in the South consisted of mostly slave labor before 1865. The African slaves had all kinds of skills, which were not used for themselves but for the economic boost of their slave masters. There were free black people, who eked out a living. The wealthy African-Americans would come later.

Post-1865, black people had to find ways to survive, seeing that they were no longer slaves. African-Americans used their ingenuity and the skills they had learned as slaves to become self-sufficient. Except, forces arose to thwart their efforts, such as the Klu Klux Klan.

Then the Jim Crow laws came to try to keep them down.

But African-Americans couldn’t be kept down. Until now.

Back in the day, the day of segregation, education was paramount. Teachers rose to the top of the list and were counted as prominent, along with preachers and lawyers. It was a noble profession to be a teacher. And reading and writing were priorities. It appears that is no longer the case.

This Labor Day, the African-American community in Winston-Salem needs to take some time to remember the good old days when there were no schools with mostly black children on a list of under-performing schools, let alone 11 of them. Take a little time to reflect. Then resolve to get to work to help Winston-Salem schools get back on track.

Andrew Snorton is doing his part. He held a project to promote reading in East Winston on Saturday. The Wake Forest University alumnus from Snellville, Georgia, took hours to travel from Georgia and spend 2 ½ hours of his time at the East Winston Library. He thinks it’s important for people to read, because reading leads to higher-level skills. Higher-level skills lead to higher-level jobs.

This Labor Day is a time to develop a plan of action to combat the new forces against African-American students: complacency and lack of interest. Poverty has been blamed for a lot of things, but it’s hard to blame it for poor reading when the Forsyth County Library system provides free books to check out. And electronic reading devices such as tablets and computers also are increasingly available from libraries (the East Winston Library is trying to raise money for some to help students with homework).

Television and the Internet have stolen the interest of children these days, but African-American children can’t afford to allow that to continue to happen. They can’t let history repeat itself, becoming the new slaves in the economy.

About Author

Donna Rogers

Donna Rogers

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors