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The New York Age was an African-American newspaper founded by Timothy Thomas Fortune, a civil rights leader and journalist. This excerpt from an editorial on the 1909 New York City shirtwaist maker's strike defends the paper's decision to run advertisements from the shirtwaist manufacturers seeking young African-American women to take the places of…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1910

In the years after World War I, American workers sought to consolidate and expand the gains they had achieved during the war years. In September 1919, some 350,000 steelworkers went on strike, seeking higher wages, shorter hours and better working conditions. Steel companies, often with assistance of local governments, responded with violent…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1919

The steel strike of 1919 saw some 350,000 workers walk off the job, temporarily bringing the steel industry to a halt. The U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor investigated, interviewing striking steelworkers such as Slavic immigrant Andrew Pido. In his testimony to the committee, Pido tells of his abuse at the hands of local police, the…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1919

As millions of men lost their jobs during the Great Depression, many began to argue that women (particularly married women) should not be occupying the scarce jobs that remained. When women could find jobs, employers routinely paid them less than men, even for the same work. Women were also more likely to be employed irregularly, which further…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1933

In his first year in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was wary of running a budget deficit. Consequently many early New Deal programs attempted to create temporary (rather than permanent) direct aid programs and to bring government planners, business and labor leaders together to create regulations. However, unemployment remained high and…

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: 1934

The state of Oklahoma suffered greatly during the Depression, causing many families to become migrant workers. In response to the dire conditions in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Tenant Farmers' Union argued for decent living wages for field workers, an extension of a wage-and hour law to include agricultural labor, lower interest rates on loans for…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1939

This poster, from A. Philip Randolph's planned March on Washington in 1941, illustrates several issues central to the march. The threat of a large-scale public protest persuaded President Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802, which banned racially motivated employment discrimination in federal government and the defense industry.
This billboard advertisement, dating from the early 1940s, suggests the common ground shared by the labor and civil rights movements. Created by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the more progressive of the country's two main labor federations, the billboard urges support for Roosevelt's Fair Employment Practices Committee legislation…

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Item Type: Advertisement
Date: Circa 1941

In May 1941, as it became clear that the U.S. would probably be entering World War II, black labor leader A. Philip Randolph and other activists founded the March on Washington Movement (MOWM). They called for a mass march on the nation's capital to protest job discrimination in government financed jobs and segregation in the military. On June 24,…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1941

When World War II ended, the large numbers of women who had taken industrial jobs during the war were forced out. Employers sought not only to give their jobs to returning veterans, but also to reassert the division of labor that had operated before wartime mobilization. While women workers staged few organized protests, the Women's Committee of…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1945