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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Having heard about successful braceros, Salvador Esparza Carreño decided to enlist in the bracero program in 1945. He worked as a railroad worker, in the fields cutting asparagus, and as a camp cook. He describes his work and leisure time in…

Despite rumors that braceros would be sent off to fight in World War II, Manuel Sandoval Espino joined the bracero program in 1943. He recalls having to go to the local politician in order to get a pass to join. Mr. Sandoval worked in Kansas as a…

AmericanProgress.png
During the nineteenth century, the U.S. greatly expanded its territory by purchasing land from other countries, taking land from countries it defeated in war, and adding independent territories that wanted to become part of the United States. This…

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pullmanstrike.png
The Pullman Strike began on May 11, 1894, when Pullman Palace Car Company workers walked off the job in response to severe wage cuts; members of Eugene V. Debs' American Railway Union soon joined in by refusing to work in Pullman cars. U.S. Army…

Union Pacific nw.png
An 1869 poster announces the grand opening of the first Transcontinental Railroad. In an elaborate ceremony in Promontory Summit, Utah, the Union Pacific met with the Southern Pacific, linking the eastern United States with California for the first…

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Across.tif
From 1835 to 1907, the Currier & Ives printmaking company produced over a million lithograph illustrations of events, portraits, and scenes from American life. In the era before photography and the widespread use of illustrations in newspapers,…

AntiRRPoster.png
An 1839 poster urges citizens to rally against the coming of the railroad to Philadelphia. As the poster suggests, industrial technology and "progress" have not always been greeted with universal acclaim. The anonymous author(s) of this broadside…

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CenturyStride.tif
In 1876. the United States marked its centennial (or one hundredth birthday) with a World's Fair held in Philadelpha. The fair celebrated American technological progress and expansion. In this print, created by Currier & Ives, "Brother Jonathan" (a…

RRcover.tif
The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad is celebrated with a handshake, a bottle of champagne, and the laying of a golden railroad spike in Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10th, 1869. After years of speculation, government backing, corporate…

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A New York Times article from 1889 describes another instance of racially-based labor unrest on the railroads. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a group of African-American railroad laborers spontaneously strike to protest the dismissal of a black brakeman.…

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