In 1915, the first of several events unfolded in Muskogee Oklahoma when the "Great Agricultural and Industrial Parade" unfolded at the fair grounds. The event occurred during the week of Labor Day from September 6th through 11th at the fair. One of the highlights of the event was a massive parade with dozens of find automobiles and horsemen parading through downtown Muskogee. on 2nd Street which was the heart of the black business community at that time. Each day there were horse races, in addition to automobile racing unfolding. For children there was much to amuse them with carnival rides and plenty of concessions to satisfy the crowds in attendance.
One of the organizers of the event was Herbert A. Clark, an accountant who had come to Oklahoma from his native Ohio, and worked as an accountant in addition to also having worked as a linotype operator, which was the primary macing used to set print. He resided on 3rd Street in Muskogee, only a block away from 2nd Street which for decades was the primary business distict of black Musskogee.
To promote the event it was also noted that much of the event was to have been captured on film, and it appears quite possibly the film maker was Solomon Sir Jones, who produced numerous films of Black Oklahoma. On one of his films an impressive parade was shown with a line of fine automobiles, and others reflecting riders on horseback as part of the parade.
Another Glimpse of Oklahoma Parade
Source: Globel Image Works
Today Labor Day is usually a family based holiday where individuals spend time with loved ones, placing food on the grill, and enjoying the day. The day usually marks the end of summer with schhols reopening, and that day off has often been the much needed and appreciated change of season day to mark not nolythe calendar change but also for the family and the community to celebrate themselves and their own accomplishments.
So we take this time to acknowledge that we are following a tradition of more than a century ago celebrated by our ancestors. Enjoy this day as our ancestors did. Celebrate your family, and you community as was done in days past.