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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Nos creemos americanos: Braceros in History and Song

In this activity students write original corridos (a type of Mexican folk song) based on the oral histories of braceros. Before writing their own corridos, students learn about the formulas and themes of corridos and analyze a World War II-era [...]

A Doctor Decries the Public Health Danger of Immigrants

Starting in the 1890s, many Americans feared that the arrival of large numbers of immigrants from countries in Eastern and Southern Europe was bad for society. They claimed that immigrants could not easily assimilate, or fit in, and that they were [...]

A Congressman Denounces Immigration Quotas as "Un-American" (short version, with text supports)

Restrictions on immigration, largely aimed at would-be migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, gained considerable popular support during the 1920s. Anti-immigrant sentiment culminated in the Quota Act of 1921, which effectively reduced [...]

Immigrants by the Numbers

In this activity, students work with quantitative data (charts, graphs, and tables) from the 1910 census and the 1911 Dillingham Commission Report to understand the lives of immigrants in the Ellis Island era. The activity includes an option [...]

Chart of First Generation Immigrant Women's Occupations, 1900

In 1907, Congress formed the Dillingham Commission to investigate the origins and effects of the massive wave of immigration then underway. The Commission compiled a variety of data about immigrants and their children. This chart shows the [...]

The Pay Envelope: A Role Play

In this activity students perform a role play of immigrant mothers and daughters arguing over who should get to keep the daughter's wages. This activity is used to teach with the film Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl, but can be completed [...]

A Congressman Denounces Immigration Quotas as "Un-American"

Restrictions on immigration, largely aimed at would-be migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, gained considerable popular support during the 1920s. Anti-immigrant sentiment culminated in the Quota Act of 1921, which effectively reduced [...]

"Katy, Hannah and Mary"

This photograph identifies the women only as Katy, Hannah, and Mary. Over half—53%—of all Irish immigrants who came to the United States were women.  By comparison, only 41% of German emigrants were female.  Among Southern Italians, who [...]

"Tenement, New York City, 1910"

This photograph by Lewis Hine was taken in a New York City tenement in 1910. Hine was a documentary photographer who frequently turned his lens to the plight of immigrants, workers, and the poor. This family group, perhaps among the approximately [...]

Map of Block 160, 1902

This is a map of Block 160 in New York City's Five Points neighborhood 1902. Public opinion of the Five Points neighborhood was highly negative and filled with bias. The population of New York had ballooned by the mid-nineteenth century causing a [...]

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