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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Industrialization and Expansion (1877-1913) (x)

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A Soldier Reports on Filipino Grievances

This anonymous letter, to the Wisconsin Weekly Advocate by a black soldier, probably from the 24th or 25th infantry, denounces the behavior of Americans in the Philippines following its acquisition from the Spanish. He states that having seen the [...]

A Progressive Organization Urges African-American Solidarity with the Shirtwaist Strikers

After a New York Age editorial was published, a crisis meeting was called by the Cosmopolitan Club. The Cosmopolitan Club was an organization of black and white progressives and radicals called together by Mary White Ovington, a founder of the [...]

A Sharecropper Explains Why He Joined the Exodusters

John Solomon Lewis of Leavenworth, Kansas, wrote this letter on June 10, 1879. Lewis and his family were among thousands of African Americans known as "Exodusters" who escaped the harsh economic and racial realties of the Reconstruction South. The [...]

A Worker Recalls Her Time at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

In this oral history conducted by historian Joan Morrison, Pauline Newman told of getting a job at the Triangle Company as a child, soon after arriving in the United States from Lithuania in 1901. Newman described her life as an immigrant and [...]

New York

In this painting, George Bellows, a member of the "Ashcan School" of early twentieth-century American artists, depicts the hustle-and-bustle of Union Square, already surrounded by skyscrapers and billboards. The members of the Ashcan School were [...]

"Street of Gamblers (By Day)"

This photo of Ross Alley shows the preponderance of male immigrants in San Francisco's Chinatown. While outsiders dubbed this a "bachelor society," many Chinese immigrants had left behind families in China. Arnold Genthe's original caption for this [...]

"Chinese Butcher and Grocer Shop, Chinatown, S.F."

In the late 1880s, when this photograph was taken by Isaiah West Taber, there were over 20,000 Chinese living in California. Many settled in San Francisco's Chinatown, where markets, temples, theaters, and restaurants supplied a thriving commercial [...]

"Consumer's Guide"

The Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog dates back to 1888, when Richard Sears first used a mailer to sell watches and jewelry. The U.S. Post Office provided a boon to the mail order business by allowing mail order publications to be classified as [...]

"'The White Man's Burden' and Its Critics"

Jim Zwick is an American Studies scholar and author of Confronting Imperialism: Essays on Mark Twain and the Anti-Imperialist League and Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War, as well as numerous [...]

"Life in the Shop": The Story of an Immigrant Garment Worker

Clara Lemlich ignited the 1909 walkout of shirtwaist makers with her call for a general strike. This piece was first published in the New York Evening Journal, November 28, 1909.

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