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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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An Author Encourages Direct Action Among Young People of Color

During the Black Freedom Struggle of the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans were consciously changing the meaning of what it meant to be Black in America. Engaging in activism was often dangerous, and required immense sacrifice that took a lot of [...]

Item Type: Book (excerpt)
An Historian Reevaluates Civil Rights Scholarship

In this forward to Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside the South 1940-1980, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham sketches an outline of the contributions of African Americans from the Northeast, West Coast and Midwest in shaping the Civil Rights [...]

Item Type: Book (excerpt)
A Senator Calls for a More Democratic Immigration System

In the midst of debating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which concerned the rights of all Americans, regardless of race, to become citizens and vote, Senator Charles Sumner often urged more liberal and democratic application of the law. In [...]

W.E.B. DuBois Critiques Racial Accommodation

The most influential public critique of Booker T. Washington’s policy of racial accommodation and gradualism came in 1903 when black leader and intellectual W.E.B. DuBois published an essay in his collection The Souls of Black Folk with the [...]

W.E.B. DuBois Defines "The Talented Tenth"

At the beginning of the twentieth century, as now, access to quality public education was uneven, and the problem disproportionately impacted African-American children. W.E.B. DuBois, himself highly educated, was sharply critical of Booker T. [...]

An Activist Advocates for Women's Leadership in Improving Black Life

Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to complete a college degree. Terrell, an educator and activist, also founded the National Association of Colored Women. The National Association was organized into many local [...]

John Adams Explains Why People Without Property Should Not Be Able to Vote

James Sullivan, a state court judge in Massachusetts and colleague of John Adams, was often sympathetic to those who thought women and non-elite men should have a voice in the new nation’s government. Adams disagreed, explaining to Sullivan [...]

Slaves Petition the Massachusetts Legislature (short version)

Throughout the revolutionary era, scores of slaves signed petitions that linked their demands for freedom with the cause of American independence. Below is the text of one such petition presented to the Massachusetts legislature.

Expanding the Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott worksheet

This worksheet helps students review what they know about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the civil rights movement before more closely examining the role of women and local activists in brining about change. It is designed to go with the activity [...]

Tags: Boycotts
Item Type: Worksheet
The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Japanese Incarceration

America fought World War II to preserve freedom and democracy, yet that same war featured the greatest suppression of civil liberties in the nation’s history. In an atmosphere of hysteria, President Roosevelt, encouraged by officials at all [...]

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