Vice, “A People’s History of April Fools’ Day”

Later, movements for social change adopted the date as a day of activism. Socialists, communists, and anarchists all engaged in marches and actions on this day in the late 19th century—the most famous of which was Emma Goldman’s release of hundreds of rats into Macy’s department store on April 1, 1899. Franklin Roosevelt nodded to this tradition in 1934, when, as part of the New Deal, he made April 1 a national holiday on which men could dig holes and fill them back up again in exchange for a government stipend. A year later, Congress canceled this program after it was revealed that FDR was “only kidding!” and the modern April Fools’ Day was born.

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