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Background Information on the Events at Wounded Knee

This essay outlines the events leading the massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee, including the role of Ghost Dancers, and the chaotic violence that ensued on December 29, 1890.

Background Essay on the New York City Draft Riots

The worst episode of large-scale urban violence in American history, the New York City draft riots were sparked by the passage of conscription laws which made thousands of male New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 45 eligible to be drafted into [...]

"Growing Up in Down Times: Children of the Great Depression"

This essay provides historical perspective on the social, political, and economic circumstances of the Great Depression. It suggests some ways the hard times of the 1930s affected young people and left their mark on them as adults.

Background Essay on the Historiography of Slavery

This essay explains the shift in slavery historiography and how this continuing shift influenced the development of the Doing as They Can documentary.

Item Type: Article/Essay
Background Essay on San Francisco's Chinatown

This short essay describes the origins of San Francisco's Chinatown, as well as some of its major economic, political, and social facets. The essay also describes the challenges San Francisco's Chinese community faced from the city's white [...]

Background Essay on the "Twenty Negro" Law

The so-called "Twenty Negro Law," enacted by the Confederate Congress in 1862, allowed an exemption from military service for slaveholders who owned twenty or more slaves. In effect, this allowed large plantation owners and overseers to avoid [...]

Background Essay on Civil War "Contraband"

This essay describes how runaway slaves escaped to Union camps, and how the army formed "contraband camps" to house runaway slaves and their families. 

Background Essay on Eastman Johnson and A Ride for Liberty

This essay describes the circumsances surrounding one of Eastman Johnson's most famous paintings, A Ride for Liberty–The Fugitive Slaves.

Background Information about the Bracero Program

A brief overview of the Bracero program that allowed Mexican agricultural workers to enter the U.S. legally to work as farm laborers.

Background Information on Slavery in the U.S.

These tables and statistics give basic facts about the growth and spread of slavery in the United States and some tables of statistics about slave populations.

Item Type: Article/Essay

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