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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Examples of U.S. Laws Requiring Racial Segregation

The United States passed more than four-hundred laws, amendments, and ordinances legalizing discrimination and segregation between the years of 1865 and 1967. Nearly all aspects of people's everyday lives were governed by these laws including, but [...]

Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
The New York Times Predicts a Railroad Strike, 1885

This New York Times article from September 1885 makes reference to the tensions that existed between organized labor and Chinese immigrant workers on the Union Pacific and other railroad lines. According to the article, the Knights of Labor, the [...]

The New York Times Describes Racial Unrest on the Railroads

A New York Times article from 1889 describes another instance of racially-based labor unrest on the railroads. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a group of African-American railroad laborers spontaneously strike to protest the dismissal of a black [...]

An African-American Newspaper Defends the Shirtwaist Strikebreakers

The New York Age was an African-American newspaper founded by Timothy Thomas Fortune, a civil rights leader and journalist. This excerpt from an editorial on the 1909 New York City shirtwaist maker's strike defends the paper's decision to run [...]

A Police "Mug Shot" Reflects the New "Science"

This New York City Police Department arrest record from 1903 reflects the widely-held faith in "scientific" techniques for identifying and keeping track of criminals at the dawn of the new century. Advocates claimed that methods like those developed [...]

The AFL Supports Chinese Exclusion

These excerpts from a 1902 American Federation of Labor pamphlet argue for a second extension of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The pamphlet, entitled Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion: Meat vs. Rice, alleged that the supposed willingness of [...]

A Black Candidate Runs on Civil Rights in 1940s New York

The Japanese distributed leaflets over the South Pacific that asked, "If Americans are fighting for the freedom and equality of all people, why aren't Negro Americans allowed to play big league baseball?" Ben Davis, an African-American candidate for [...]

"The Black Child's Pledge"

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (as it was originally called) was founded in Oakland by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. The group's focus on "armed defense" often overshadowed their community activities, which included a free-breakfast [...]

Item Type: Speech
A Labor Leader Rails Against Chinese Immigration

In this "Workingmen's Address," published in 1878, Dennis Kearney of the Workingman's Party of California appeals to racist arguments against Chinese immigrants. After excoriating the fraud, corruption, and monopolization of land by the "moneyed [...]

Malcolm X Describes the Extent of America's "Racist System"

Malcolm X delivered this speech, titled "Prospects for Freedom in 1965," to an Organization for Afro American Unity (OAAU) rally at the Militant Labor Forum in New York City on January 7, 1965. A month later he was assassinated. Inspired by the [...]

Tags: Malcolm X
Item Type: Speech

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