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Head of Workmen’s Circle on Strike Solidarity, Yiddish, and Fighting Fascism this Labor Day

Ann Toback, executive director of the Workmen's Circle, with Rita Margulies, Clara Lemlich's daughter.

Ann Toback, executive director of the Workmen’s Circle, with Rita Margulies, Clara Lemlich’s daughter.

While marked by many as the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day also has a radical history that began 135 years ago. On September 5, 1882, thousands took to the streets to demand better working conditions, an eight-hour workday and a Labor Day. Twelve years later, in an attempt to defuse tensions following the Pullman strike, the first Monday in September would become officially recognized by the federal government as a holiday for workers. 

In honor of this history, Lilith’s Amelia Dornbush interviewed via email the executive director of the Workmen’s Circle, Ann Toback. The conversation ranged from the future of the labor movement to the continued influence of radical Jewish women and what lessons from 5777 to carry into the New Year.