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John Parker was born in Virginia in 1827, and was the son of a wealthy white man and an enslaved woman. He spent the first 18 years of his life as a slave and earned a reputation as a troublemaker for regularly trying to escape. In 1845, he purchased his freedom and a few years later settled in Ripley, Ohio. Located along the Ohio River, across…

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Item Type: Biography/Autobiography
Date: 1880

This map identifies which states and territories of the United States allowed slavery and which did not in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War. The slaveholding border states included Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

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Item Type: Map
Date: 1996

Every southern state passed laws, sometimes called slave codes, to restrict the activities of African Americans and to prevent slave rebellions. White lawmakers in slave-holding border states, such as Maryland and Kentucky, were particularly concerned about runaway slaves who “stole themselves” by attempting escape to a northern free state.…

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Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Date: 1794

This worksheet helps students undertake a close reading and analysis of a pamphlet calling for a March on Washington in 1941.

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2013

The National Child Labor Committee was organized in 1904 by reformers concerned about the safety, health, and education of working children. It campaigned for state and federal laws that would ban child labor and require public education. Among its most effective methods of persuading the public were photographs taken by Lewis W. Hine of children…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1915

In this 1902 editorial, the Brooklyn Eagle strongly criticizes parents who sent their children to work in mines, work that the newspaper saw as dangerous and unhealthy for children.

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1902

In this 1902 editorial, the Brooklyn Eagle describes the conditions that require some children to work for wages to support their families.

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1902

Daniel Augustus Tompkins was an owner and investor in numerous cotton mills in North Carolina. His beliefs reflected those of many mill owners, who argued in favor of child labor.

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1901

In 1914 members of Congress were preparing to vote on the the Palmer-Owen Child Labor Bill, which would have banned interstate commerce in goods produced using the labor of children. Lewis Parker was the owner and manager of several textile mills, and he testified before the Congressional Committee on Labor about why his mills used children as…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1914

In this excerpt from How the Other Half Lives, his famous 1890 book about urban poverty, Jacob Riis describes the army of young newsboys and bootblacks who worked and lived in Manhattan's streets. Later in the book, Riis praises the work of the Children'a Aid Society in providing decent shelter and other assistance to these working children.

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1890