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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Young Women Ask Permission to Work in Lowell (with text supports)

Starting in the 1820s, a group of business owners built textile mills in New England, where for the first time, people could use machines to weave cotton into cloth. The first factories recruited women from rural New England as their labor force. [...]

To Strike or Not to Strike worksheets

These worksheets help students plan their characters for the role play "To Strike or Not to Strikein 1830s Lowell." Also included is a rubric that students and teachers can use to evaluate the role play as it is performed.

Tags: Lowell
Item Type: Worksheet
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. [...]

Comparing Slaves and Servants in Colonial New York

In this activity students read a list of laws regulating Africans and African Americans and a servant's indenture contract from colonial New York. Then students find evidence in the primary sources to support a series of statements about the [...]

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 [...]

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.

Active Viewing: Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl

In this activity, students watch the documentary Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl in sections, with documents and exercises designed to support and reinforce the film's key concepts: workers challenging the effects of industrial capitalism, 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 [...]

Female Garment Workers Labor in a New York City Tenement

Concentrated in New York City, the garment industry developed side by side with the sweatshop system of labor. Sweatshops employed a handful of workers, almost all of whom were immigrant Jewish or Italian women. They were supervised by contractors [...]

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