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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Waiting for the Reduction of the Army

A massive labor strike in 1877 shook the very foundations of American politics and society. Starting with a spontaneous railroad strike in West Virginia, the “Great Uprising” spread rapidly across the country. In many cities, entire [...]

Diners Describe the first Chinese Restaurants in America (with text supports)

The first Chinese restaurants in America sprang up in 1850s California and catered to Cantonese miners and railroad laborers. Known as "chow chows" (Chinese slang for anything edible), they were identified by yellow triangle signs. By the 1880s San [...]

The Theater Draws Immigrants and Tourists to Chinatown (with text supports)

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

Anti-Chinese Prejudice and the "Six Companies" (with text supports)

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of San Francisco (commonly known as "the Six Companies") was an organization of regional- and family-based self-help societies in Chinatown. They helped to get new immigrants housing, food, and jobs. [...]

A Chinese American Describes Going to School in Chinatown (with text supports)

San Francisco's first public school for Chinese immigrants, known first as the Chinese School and then as the Oriental School, began operating in 1859. The school was designed to segregate (separate) Chinese children from white children in the [...]

An American Journalist Explains “Manifest Destiny”

John L. O’Sullivan was an influential journalist and supporter of the Democratic Party. In 1839, he laid out historical, moral, political, and economic reasons for westward expansion. In 1845, O’Sullivan rallied support for the annexation of [...]

Analysis Worksheet: Boston Abolitionists Warn of Slave Catchers

This worksheet helps students to analyze a poster about the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Constitution Worksheet

This worksheet helps students to analyze excerpts from the LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) constitution for meaning, language, and tone.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Constitution (Excerpt)

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Latino immigrants, most from Mexico, faced many problems, including low wages, poor working conditions, discrimination, and violence. They used a range of strategies to address those problems and [...]

Tags: Latino
Progressive Era Activists Call for Trade Unions (with text supports)

Founded in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was an organization that brought together working-class women, reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. The WTUL believed that the best way to help women workers was to help [...]

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