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Although Franklin D. Roosevelt never endorsed anti-lynching legislation and condoned discrimination against blacks in federally funded relief programs, he still won the hearts and the votes of many African Americans. Yet this support and even veneration for Roosevelt did not blind black Americans to the continuing discrimination that they faced.…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1935

As a young writer, Margaret Walker penned "For My People" to demonstrate African-American racial pride in the face of institutional racism and victimization. Walker interprets the dreams of African-Americans through discussions of the development of black society from slavery to the modern age, touching on such subject matter as race relations,…

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Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1942

This cartoon from the British humor magazine Judy presents the Irish American as a dangerous, caged animal. American illustrated periodicals presented similar animal-like images of Irish immigrants, although this cartoon also implies that migration to the United States was fueling the committed, sometimes violent, struggle against British rule…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1881

Much like Lulu Baxter Guy's "The Black Man's Burden," Henry Labouchère's "The Brown Man's Burden" shifts the emphasis of Kipling's notorious poem, offering a view of imperialism from the perspective of those who were most directly affected by the expansionist policies of nations like Britain and the United States. "The Brown Man's Burden" offers…

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Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1899

Among the dozens of replies to Rudyard Kipling’s pro-imperialist poem "The White Man's Burden," was “The Black Man’s Burden,” written by African-American clergyman and editor H. T. Johnson and published in April 1899. A “Black Man’s Burden Association” was even organized with the goal of demonstrating that mistreatment of brown people…

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Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1905

Even in the late nineteenth-century American West, a notably violent region, the violence directed against Chinese immigrants was shocking. The Union Pacific Railroad employed 331 Chinese and 150 whites in their coal mine in Rock Springs, Wyoming. On September 2, 1885, Chinese and white miners, who were paid by the ton, had a dispute over who had…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1885

In 1925, seven years after the end of World War I, the Army War College undertook a study to evaluate the fitness of black soldiers for service in a future war. The study's recommendations emphasized the importance of white officers and strict segregation of black troops; it was generally dubious about the prospects of black soldiers serving…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1925

Census and public health records help identify the areas of New York where the highest concentration of African Americans lived during the first half of the twentieth century. In the five boroughs of New York in 1930, only 4.7% of the population was identified as black. In Manhattan, about 12% of the population was black. For Harlem, however,…

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Item Type: Map
Date: 1944

Discussions of the "Mexican problem" in the early 20th century often revolved around issues of race and culture, much as they did with other immigrant groups. Samuel Bryan published this study of Mexican immigrants in a leading Progressive social science journal in 1912.

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 1912

In the midst of debating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which concerned the rights of all Americans, regardless of race, to become citizens and vote, Senator Charles Sumner often urged more liberal and democratic application of the law. In 1870, as Congress took up the issue of Chinese immigration, he urged that naturalization laws not…