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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Background Essay on Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl

This essay explains the significance of young female immigrants in the labor upheavals that helped define the Progressive Era.

A Steelworkers' Ballot Calls "Strike!" in Many Tongues

In the years after World War I, American workers sought to consolidate and expand the gains they had achieved during the war years. In September 1919, some 350,000 steelworkers went on strike, seeking higher wages, shorter hours and better working [...]

A Montana Miner's Union Boycotts Asian-Owned Businesses

In the 19th century, Asian Americans faced widespread hostility. In this 1898 flyer, the labor movement claimed that Asian-American workers "[lowered] standards of living and of morals." Particularly in the West, union organizers agitated for the [...]

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 [...]

Mexican and Japanese Laborers Form a Union

In 1903, Mexican and Japanese farmworkers in Oxnard, California joined together to resist a wage cut by their employers. When they requested that their union be allowed to join the American Federation of Labor, President Samuel Gompers told the [...]

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