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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Background Essay and Worksheet on Immigrant Working Women

This is a shortened, edited version of Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars (excerpt) used in The Pay Envelope: A Role Play activity. It helps students to determine the main ideas of the text by matching summary statements to the paragraphs in [...]

Latin American and French Miners Protest the Foreign Miner's Tax

French- and Spanish-speaking miners posted this notice around Sonora County, California in May, 1850. The month before, the California legislature had passed a Foreign Miners’ Tax that required immigrant miners to pay $20 every month for the [...]

Latin American and French Miners Protest the Foreign Miner’s Tax (with text supports)

French- and Spanish-speaking miners posted this notice around Sonora County, California in May, 1850. The month before, the California legislature had passed a Foreign Miners’ Tax that required immigrant miners to pay $20 every month for the [...]

A Chinese Immigrant Tells of Labor in a New Land (shortened, with text supports)

Since their arrival in the United States in the 1850s, Chinese immigrants confronted social, political, and economic discrimination. Many Americans believed that the Chinese posed a threat to white workers and should not be eligible for citizenship. [...]

Understanding the 1855 Census Database

This activity helps students navigate and make sense of the information available in the Five Points census database. In the activity, students use the database to test hypotheses about life and residents in the Five Points. For this activity, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Fruit Plantations Advertise for Japanese Workers

Sugar growers made a deal with the Japanese government in 1884 that allowed thousands of Japanese to immigrate to the Hawaiian islands to work on plantations. Western growers were also eager to tap into this new, un-unionized and cheap labor source. [...]

An Ybor City Resident Describes Work in the Cigar Factories

The family of Cesar Marcos Medina moved from Cuba to Ybor City in Tampa, Florida in 1903. In this interview, Medina details the experiences of his father, who worked as a lector (reader) in the city's cigar factories. Medina also describes the [...]

Interview with a Puerto Rican Cigarworker in New York

In his memoirs, the Puerto Rican-born cigar maker Bernardo Vega included this interview he conducted with a fellow immigrant about Puerto Rican life in New York during the early part of the twentieth century. In response to Vega's questions, the [...]