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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Modern America (1914-1929) (x)

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"True Sons of Freedom"

"True Sons of Freedom," by Charles Gustrine, is a poster depicting African-American soldiers fighting against the German army. Three hundred and fifty thousand African Americans participated in the segregated U.S. army during WWI, but they were [...]

Table of the Quota System Targeting Specific Immigrant Groups

In the years after World War I, Congress passed the Quota Act of 1921, followed by the Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act. The 1924 Act established a quota for the total number of immigrants allowed per annum at [...]

Graph of "Social Inadequacy" Among Immigrant Groups, 1922

Proponents of eugenics believed that various forms of "social inadequacy", including mental illness, criminality, and physical handicaps, were the result of inherited genetic traits. Some studies, such as this one from 1922, attempted to link these [...]

A Senator Intends to "Shut the Door" on Immigration

America's reputation as a land of welcome for immigrants has often been compromised by periodic calls to "shut the door" on immigration. At the turn of the twentieth century, the arrival of unprecedented numbers of immigrants from Southern and [...]

Item Type: Speech
"Halsted Street Car"

Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, to a poor Swedish immigrant family. After leaving home at the age of thirteen, Sandburg drifted, working odd jobs, traveling as a hobo, and serving in the Spanish-American War. A fellow soldier [...]

Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
"Chicago"

Carl Sandburg's free verse celebrated ordinary people and American landscapes both rural and urban. Sandburg, the son of Swedish immigrants, was active in Socialist politics and saw himself as the poet of working people.

Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
A Would-Be Immigrant is Excluded for Being a Potential "Public Charge"

This memorandum records the recommendations of the Immigration Service Commissioner of the District Office of San Francisco regarding the fate of Samuel Kaplan, a would-be immigrant from Russia. The Commissioner upholds a previous ruling by the [...]

The Army War College Studies Black Soldiers

In 1925, seven years after the end of World War I, the Army War College undertook a study to evaluate the fitness of black soldiers for service in a future war. The study's recommendations emphasized the importance of white officers and strict [...]

A Steelworker Strikes for "Eight Hours a Day and Better Conditions"

The steel strike of 1919 saw some 350,000 workers walk off the job, temporarily bringing the steel industry to a halt. The U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor investigated, interviewing striking steelworkers such as Slavic immigrant Andrew [...]

The U.S. Department of Labor Recruits Workers from Puerto Rico

The United States acquired the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico in 1898 after its victory in the Spanish-American War. After a period of limited local autonomy, the U.S. granted Puerto Ricans American citizenship in 1917. The arrival of large, [...]

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