Teaching Activities (57 total)

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John Lewis, the 23-year-old chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) drafted the speech excerpted below for the 1963 March on Washington. When copies of the speech were circulated in advance, march organizers, as well as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, objected to his strong rhetoric and criticisms of the federal…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1963

In 1965 the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act, were signed by President Johnson, ending the quota system which had guided U.S. immigration policy since the 1920s and which had given overwhelming preference to applicants from Northern European countries. In a speech marking the occasion, Johnson outlined…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1965

Restrictions on immigration, largely aimed at would-be migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, gained considerable popular support during the 1920s. Anti-immigrant sentiment culminated in the Quota Act of 1921, which effectively reduced immigration from those areas to a quarter of pre-World War I levels, and in the even more restrictive…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1924

In this "Workingmen's Address," published in 1878, Dennis Kearney of the Workingman's Party of California appeals to racist arguments against Chinese immigrants. After excoriating the fraud, corruption, and monopolization of land by the "moneyed men" of the Gilded Age, Kearney claims that the Chinese are being "imported" as a source cheap labor,…
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (as it was originally called) was founded in Oakland by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. The group's focus on "armed defense" often overshadowed their community activities, which included a free-breakfast program for children. This "Black Child's Pledge," composed by Shirley Williams and published in The…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1968

Henry A. Wallace, Franklin D. Roosevelt's vice president and Secretary of Commerce under Harry Truman, delivered this speech to a gathering of leftist and liberal groups in New York's Madison Square Garden in 1946. In it, he urges taking a more conciliatory approach in America's foreign policy toward the Soviet Union. In contrast to Truman's…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1946

President Harry S. Truman proclaimed the Truman Doctrine in a speech addressed to Congress on March 12, 1947. In addition to drawing a stark contrast between the two different "ways of life" represented by the United States and the Soviet Union, the speech marked a shift in American foreign policy toward a policy of "containment" of Soviet…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1947

In this stirring speech delivered to the Congregational and Presbyterian Anti-Slavery Society in New Hampshire in 1842, a Revolutionary war veteran known only as "Dr. Harris" recalls the valor of a regiment African-American soldiers who fought in Washington's Army in the fight for Independence. Dr. Harris ponders the fate of these black soldiers,…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1842

In this address to Jonathan Trumbull, the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut who sided with the Revolutionary cause, the chief of the Oneida Indians declares his tribe's intention to remain neutral in the impending conflict. The Oneidas express their dismay at the prospect of war between the "two brothers of one blood," and request that the…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1776

America's reputation as a land of welcome for immigrants has often been compromised by periodic calls to "shut the door" on immigration. At the turn of the twentieth century, the arrival of unprecedented numbers of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe led to growing public support for restrictive immigration laws. After a temporary slowing…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1924