Rise, comrades, and view May Day posters at the Library

Apr 23, 2023

Workers of Wareham, unite! You have nothing to lose but your boredom.

Stephen Lewis will exhibit historic pro-labor posters from six continents at the Wareham Free Library from Friday, April 28 to Tuesday, May 30. 

May 1 is celebrated as International Workers’ Day, or May Day, in over 100 countries.

Those who view the exhibit will see works of art with a message, and learn about the struggles of workers from different countries and eras. 

With his collection of over 10,000 labor and political posters, which he exhibits throughout Massachusetts, Lewis wants to change Americans’ perception of May Day from “tanks parading through the streets of Moscow” to a celebration of working people. 

Despite the United States celebrating its workers on Labor Day every September, the custom of May Day is American in origin. In 1886, labor leaders called for a nationwide strike on May 1 if Congress did not shorten the workday to eight hours. On May 1, 60,000 workers went on strike in Chicago.

The strike ended tragically with the detonation of a bomb, followed by a shootout. Seven police officers and at least four civilians were killed. However, May 1 became recognized worldwide as  a day for workers.

This exhibition was sponsored in part by the Wareham Cultural Council, Roofers Local 33 of Stoughton, Painters District Council 35 of Roslindale, Laborers Local 1249 of Falmouth and Asbestos Workers Local 6 of Boston