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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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"Americans all, let's fight for victory: Americanos todos, luchamos por la victoria"

Mexicans and Mexican Americans contributed in many ways to the United States' war effort during World War II. About 19% of all Mexican Americans signed up for the armed forces; nearly 17,000 Mexican Americans in Los Angeles worked in the area's [...]

Selling Sweet Potatoes in Charleston

Slaves commonly sold produce like sweet potatoes or peanuts and other goods on the streets of Charleston. Slave owners coordinated this “slave-hiring system” to help raise additional income for the plantation. Mary Reynolds, a former [...]

Item Type: Poster/Print
Night Patrols Check Slave Passes in Mississippi

This scene of white patrollers examining “Negro passes” in Mississippi illustrates the constraints placed on all African Americans in the slave South. This news illustration captured a scene during the Civil War, when slave owners in [...]

Pro-Slavery Pamphlet, circa 1860

Two pages from a proslavery tract published around 1860 present the contrasting fates of free and unfree labor. After decades of attack from abolitionists, in the 1850s slavery advocates defended plantation slavery as the most efficient and most [...]

Item Type: Poster/Print
Gathering the Dead and Wounded

A Harper’s Weekly engraving shows some of the grim results of a terrorist attack on the African-American citizens of the rural town of Colfax, Louisiana, in April 1873. Starting in 1871, the Democratic party in several southern states began an [...]

"Straw Hat Maker"

This illustration was one of several published in the American edition of The Book of Trades, or Library of the Useful Arts, a British survey of crafts that were practiced in the colonies. Each illustration was accompanied by a description of the [...]

Five Points in 1859

This print showing a view of one of New York City's more notorious poor neighborhoods offers a variety of picturesque and sensational incidents, including an assault in broad daylight. It also indicates that African Americans worked and resided in a [...]

"Five Points, 1827"

This print, by an unknown illustrator, is based on an earlier oil painting by the artist George Catlin (who later become famous for his portraits of Native Americans in the West). Like the original, the print depicts a street view of “Paradise [...]

Item Type: Poster/Print
California Gold Diggers

This lithograph of miners on the shore of the Sacramento River captures the crowded, thrilling early days of the California Gold Rush. People from diverse racial, national, and class backgrounds all participate in one way or another. In the [...]

The National Child Labor Committee Seeks Members

The National Child Labor Committee was organized in 1904 by reformers concerned about the safety, health, and education of working children. It campaigned for state and federal laws that would ban child labor and require public education. Among its [...]

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