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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Pupils Study in San Francisco's Chinatown

This photograph shows a schoolroom scene from San Francisco's Chinese Public School, circa late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The Chinese immigrant students are taught by a middle-class white woman. Note the students' traditional dress and [...]

"The Chinese 6 Companies at 843 Stockton St. Known by the Chinese as the Chung Wa Woey Koon"

This photograph shows the headquarters of the so-called Chinese Six Companies, officially known as the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, on Stockton Street in San Francisco. The Six Companies, organized in the 1850s and formally [...]

"View of the Ewen Coal Breaker of the Pa. Coal Co."

Young boys were often employed in coal mines in the mining regions of Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Kentucky, and West Virginia, where boys as young as twelve could be legally put to work. Often working in "coal breakers," sorting out slate and other [...]

Child Cotton Pickers Haul Heavy Loads

Child cotton-pickers on a farm in Bells, Texas, documented by Lewis W. Hine, a photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Children had long been used as cotton-pickers and other agricultural workers in the South, where the tradition of [...]

Teamsters Protest the World Trade Organization

Over the course of four hours on November 30, 1999, Seattle witnessed the results of months of organizing by organized labor. As many as 35,000 people filled a football stadium and took over miles of downtown Seattle streets. The event sent an [...]

Vietnam War Protestors Confront M.P.s with Flowers

A Vietnam-era photograph shows a standoff between antiwar protesters and military police. The demonstration, which took place on October 21, 1967, included a march to the Pentagon, where "Yippies" Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin led a mock "exorcism" [...]

Soldiers in Vietnam Gather Around a Guitar

Members of Company A of the 14th U.S. Infantry Division gather around a guitar after a hard day during "Operation Yellowstone," which lasted from December 1967 to March 1968. Many soldiers in Vietnam would customize their helmets by writing slogans [...]

Item Type: Photograph
Chinese Servants Hold Trays and Flowers

Many Chinese immigrants in the nineteenth century, the majority of whom were men, took their first jobs as domestic servants for white families in the West. They were responsible for cooking, cleaning, laundry, and sometimes childcare. One reason [...]

Item Type: Photograph
Jewish Immigrants March to Abolish Child Labor

This photograph, taken during a labor parade in New York City in 1909, shows two young women wearing banners that read "Abolish Child Slavery!" in English and Yiddish. Jewish immigrants were especially active in many labor causes at the turn of the [...]

Boys Play Among Litter on a New York City Street

Around 1900, an anonymous photographer captured this image of children playing in a New York City street, near open sewers and a dead horse. Such scenes prompted reformers to campaign for better sanitation in U.S. cities.

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