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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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An Abolitionist Speaks Forcefully for Women's Rights

Women and African Americans were demanding the rights of citizenship in the 1850s. At an 1851 women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio Sojourner Truth rose and asked the president, "May I say a few words?" She then conveyed to the audience a [...]

Item Type: Speech
President Lincoln Seeks to Reassure the South After His Election

Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President during a time of national crisis. His election had prompted the secession of South Carolina and six other states, and Federal troops were surrounded at Fort Sumter. In his inaugural address, Lincoln sought [...]

The Gettysburg Address

The battle of Gettysburg, which took place in July, 1863, was the deadliest in the Civil War. After three sweltering days, Union forces were victorious but 51,000 soldiers were dead, wounded, or missing; 28,000 of them were Confederates. In [...]

President Kennedy Proposes an Alliance for Progress

Kennedy had first spoken of an "Alliance for Progress" between the United States and Latin America in his inaugural address. Citing a shared heritage, Kennedy outlined his vision for a "large-scale Inter-American effort... to attack the social [...]

Item Type: Speech
An Aviation Hero Advocates Isolationism

The interwar peace movement was arguably the largest mass movement of the 1920s and 1930s, a mobilization often overlooked in the wake of the broad popular consensus that ultimately supported the U.S. involvement in World War II. The destruction [...]

A Massachusetts Farmer Favors the New Constitution

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent between 1787 and 1789. Though ultimately ratified by all thirteen states, the decision was contentious and ratification faced considerable [...]

A Southern Activist Warns Black Chicagoans about the Daley Machine

The Democratic Party political machine notoriously ruled Chicago, distributing jobs and city services in exchange for political support. James Bevel, the director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's direct action campaigns, was a [...]

A Female Civil Rights Organizer Condemns "Jane Crow"

Pauli Murray entered law school in 1941 with the "single-minded intention of destroying Jim Crow." Murray and her peers, though on the frontlines of civil rights demonstrations and behind the scenes of many organizational meetings since the 1940s, [...]

Fannie Lou Hamer Electrifies the Democratic Convention

Fannie Lou Hamer grew up as one of 20 children born to sharecroppers in rural Mississippi. She and her husband were eking out a living as sharecroppers near Ruleville when, at the age of 44, she decided to attend a mass meeting about voting in [...]

A Social Worker Calls Upon Unions to Accept Mexican Immigrants

Ernestine Alvarado, of New York's YWCA, sharply criticized Americans who disparaged Mexico and did not welcome Mexican immigrants. She defended Mexican immigrants, calling them "bold dreamers," and castigated nativist stereotypes and unwelcoming [...]

Item Type: Speech

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