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This 1774 British print, titled "The Bostonians Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring and Feathering," depicts the attack of a Patriot crowd on Boston Commissioner of Customs John Malcolm. Tarring and feathering was a ritual of humiliation and public warning that stopped just short of serious injury. Victims included British officials such as Malcolm…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1774

This declaration, reprinted in a London newspaper, provides an example of women's political activism during the revolutionary period. Over fifty "American ladies" from Edenton, North Carolina signed an agreement to stop buying and using tea, British cloth, and other imported luxuries in protest of British policies toward the colonies.

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1775

During the revolutionary era, cheap prints depicting current events were in demand in both England and the colonies. This 1775 British print presented a scene in Edenton, North Carolina, where fifty-one women had signed a declaration in support of nonimportation, swearing not to drink tea or purchase British imports. Boycotts of British goods were…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1775

In 1937, African-American activists in Chicago founded the Negro Labor Relations League to put pressure on companies that refused to hire black workers. The League's campaigns targeted newspapers (to promote black newscarriers), movie theaters (to hire black projectionists), and dairies. This photo is from that successful campaign, where in…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1938

In May 1954, the Women's Political Council of Montgomery, Alabama wrote a letter to the Mayor of Montgomery asking for changes that would make the city’s public bus system treat African-American riders with more fairness. The Women’s Political Council was founded in 1946 by a group of black professional women, many of them teachers.…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1954

This letter from the Women's Political Council to the Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, threatens a bus boycott by the city's African Americans if demands for fair treatment are not met.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1954

This leaflet, produced by Jo Ann Robinson and others in response to Rosa Parks' arrest on December 1, 1955, called for all African Americans to stay off city buses on Monday, December 5. Robinson was president of the Women's Political Council, an organization of African-American professional women who worked for greater political influence from the…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1955

The diagram below shows where Rosa Parks sat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955. At the time, the first ten seats on Montgomery buses were reserved for white passengers only. Parks was sitting in the eleventh row. When the bus filled up the driver told Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white man, but she repeatedly refused.…

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Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Date: 1955

Rosa Parks gained international fame in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat in the "whites-only" section on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks, an employee of the Montgomery Fair department store and secretary for the NAACP, later said of the event, "It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1955

During the Montgomery bus boycott, researchers from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee visited Montgomery to learn more about the boycott and document it. Researcher Willie Lee interviewed an African-American woman who worked as a domestic, who described how black riders had been treated on the buses. She was interviewed at one of the several…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: 1956