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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Modern America (1914-1929) (x)

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"I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier"

By 1915, Americans began debating the need for military and economic preparations for war. Strong opposition to “preparedness” came from isolationists, socialists, pacifists, many Protestant ministers, German Americans, and Irish Americans (who [...]

Item Type: Music/Song
"Over There"

Reproduced below are the lyrics to America's best-known World War I song, "Over There." Written by George M. Cohan, the song was widely performed by various artists (initially by Charles King) from its publication in 1917. Cohan later recalled that [...]

Item Type: Music/Song
A Black Family Leaves Their Home After the 1919 Chicago Race Riot

In July 1919, Chicago suffered a terrible race riot. An African-American teenager swimming in Lake Michigan floated into a "white" area and drowned after being stoned by a white crowd. Violence spread rapidly. Black Chicagoans, including World War [...]

Item Type: Photograph
Timeline for Up South: African-American Migration in the Era of the Great War

This timeline tracks significant events in African American history between 1863 and 1960.

Item Type: Timeline
Black Southerners Seek Advice from a Northern Newspaper

Between 1916 and 1930, over a million African Americans living in the South migrated to cities in the North and West in what has become known as the "Great Migration." Many who were considering whether or not to leave the South sought information [...]

"Hughes's Life and Career"

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is commonly recognized as a leading writer of the Harlem Renaissance (1919-1929). In "Hughes's Life and Career," Arnold Rampersad, professor of humanities at Stanford University, provides a biographical essay that [...]

"What Does the Negro Want?" African-American Demands for Citizenship

Professor John R. Hawkins wrote this short pamphlet on behalf of the NAACP. In it he outlines African Americans' demands for justice and equality at home following World War I. The NAACP makes 14 demands in response to Wilson's "14 Points," in [...]

Item Type: Article/Essay
A Social Scientist Urges Americans to Give Mexicans "a Fair Chance in Life"

Progressive social scientists, like economist Alvin S. Johnson, disagreed with those who held Mexican and other immigrants as racially inferior an undesirable. Instead, he and his peers claimed that Mexican government and culture were "inferior" and [...]

A Social Worker Calls Upon Unions to Accept Mexican Immigrants

Ernestine Alvarado, of New York's YWCA, sharply criticized Americans who disparaged Mexico and did not welcome Mexican immigrants. She defended Mexican immigrants, calling them "bold dreamers," and castigated nativist stereotypes and unwelcoming [...]

Item Type: Speech
Marcus Garvey Calls for Pan-Africanism and Race Pride

Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant, was the leader of the largest black mass movement in the nation's history.  His Universal Negro Improvement Association, which had chapters throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Africa, promoted race pride, [...]

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