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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Summary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Despite his personal opposition to slavery, when President Abraham Lincoln took office in 1861 he insisted that his constitutional duty was to keep the nation together, not to abolish slavery. He conducted the first year of the war with the goal of [...]

An English Philosopher Explains Why Slavery Intensifies Southerners' Desire for Liberty

In this essay excerpt, British political philosopher and member of Parliament Edmund Burke explains that the existence of slavery in the southern colonies helps to intensify the "fierce spirit of liberty" among white residents who recognize [...]

Staffordshire Teawares from Five Points Neighborhood

This tea set, manufactured in England, was uncovered during an archaeological dig of the former Five Points neighborhood, at the site of a former tenement building at 472 Pearl Street. While the neighborhood was known for its poverty and vice, this [...]

Item Type: Artifact
"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?"

This medallion was created by Josiah Wedgwood, a British ceramics maker and abolitionist, around 1787. The image of the kneeling slave in chains asking "Am I Not a Man and a Brother?" became an international symbol of the abolitionist movement. The [...]

Artifacts from Irish Tenements and Saloon in Five Points

The archeological excavation of the Foley Square Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street, located near the former intersection that once comprised the Five Points neighborhood, yielded over 850,000 artifacts, some of which are depicted below. The artifacts [...]

A Mexican Bracero's Identification Card

Between 1942 and 1964, millions of Mexican agricultural workers entered the U.S. to work as surplus farm laborers during the government-sponsored Bracero Program. Working for lower wages than domestic farm workers, the Braceros were often victims of [...]

A Renaissance Englishman Describes the New World

Thomas Hariot, cartographer, mathematician, and astronomer, accompanied Sir Walter Raleigh on a 1584-86 expedition of America's eastern coast. The English explored the area of the Carolina Outer Banks, calling it Virginia in honor of Queen [...]

A Diplomat Calls for Aid to Latin America

Milton Eisenhower, the younger brother of President Dwight E. Eisenhower, served as a special ambassador to Latin America during the Eisenhower administration. He came to see poverty as the major obstacle to economic development and political [...]

Tags: Cold War
Item Type: Book (excerpt)
A Reformer Deplores the Poverty Caused by Industrial Progress

Henry George was a reformer and utopian whose 1886 New York City mayoral campaign as the Workingman's Party candidate had the makings of a popular uprising. Although George finished second, behind Democrat Abram S. Hewitt and ahead of Republican [...]

I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (Excerpt)

In this excerpt from a history of civil rights organizing in Mississippi during the 1960s, author Charles Payne describes the curriculum of the Freedom Schools established by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

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