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An Author Defines Chicano Rights

This short excerpt was part of a book-length conversation between Amalia Mesa-Bains and bell hooks, two writers who both explore issues of race, gender, and identity in their work. Home Grown takes the reader through that conversation as they talk [...]

Item Type: Book (excerpt)
An Scottish Explorer Discovers a Northwest Passage

Alexander Mackenzie was an English explorer in North America who discovered a Northwest Passage through Canada to the Pacific in 1793. Although praised for his efforts, the route he mapped out was too difficult to sustain real trade or further [...]

A Member of the Ladies' Home Missionary Society Visits a Five Points Family

The Five Points Mission grew out of several Protestant missionary organizations that aimed to improve conditions in the Five Points. At first they attempted to convert residents from Catholicism; later the Mission obtained pledges from Five Pointers [...]

Visitors Describe the Five Points Neighborhood

Many visitors—journalists, reformers, middle-class tourists hoping to brush up against the masses—traveled through the Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan in the nineteenth century. They left these observations.

Item Type: Book (excerpt)
A Five Points "Orphan" Is Taken In by Reverend Pease and the Five Points House of Industry

The Five Points House of Industry was organized by the Methodist minister Lewis M. Pease and headquartered in a notorious former slum building known as the Old Brewery. It was the first missionary effort in the neighborhood to offer vocational [...]

Robber Barons Advance Railroad Policy

A passage from Matthew Josephson's The Robber Barons outlines the often unsavory history of the railroad industry in America. As Josephson tells it, the history of the railroads traced a trajectory of corruption, scandal, popular outrage, largely [...]

Tags: railroads
Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Chinatown's Groceries Thrive in San Francisco

San Francisco's Chinatown was a thriving commercial center for Chinese immigrants in California. By 1856, there were already thirty-three Chinese-owned groceries and general stores that sold a wide variety of goods and foodstuffs, mostly imported [...]

The Theater Draws Immigrants and Tourists to Chinatown

During the 1870s and 1880s, San Francisco's Chinatown included as many as four theater companies that regularly performed Chinese operas and other entertainment. The cost of admission to evening performances was usually 20-25 cents for Chinese (50 [...]

"Sister Carrie" Enters a 19th Century Temple of Consumerism

The heroine of Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie is a small-town girl thrust into the big-city life of a bustling late-nineteenth-century Chicago. In this passage Carrie, on the verge of poverty after losing a job in a garment factory and desperately [...]

An "Irish Agent" Describes the Classes of Tenant Farmers

The following excerpts are from Valentine M'Clutchy, the Irish Agent (1845), a melodramatic novel by Irish writer William Carleton. Himself the son of a farmer whose family was evicted from their land, Carleton here offers a sympathetic description [...]

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