Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
This oral history transcript from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute documents the tumultuous life and leadership of the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who survived a bomb attack that destroyed his home.
Reconstruction and Black Education
This mini-documentary from the American Experience: "Reconstruction" Web site follows post-Civil War development of public education for African Americans in the South and the resistance it sparked.
In these video segments, leading historians and legal scholars reflect on the promise of the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, and why it remains unfulfilled.
In this oral history from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Lola Hendricks describes her work behind the scenes to advance the Civil Rights movement.
"Hearty Big Strong Men All Died": The Lasting Impact of the Silicosis "Plague" in the 1930s
Silicosis, a deadly lung disease caused when workers inhale fine particles of silica dust (found in sand, quartz, and granite), became a national cause clbre during the Great Depression when it was recognized as a significant disease among lead, zinc, and silver miners, sandblasters, and foundry and tunnel workers. While silicosis was a crisis for the federal government, business, and insurance companies as well as labor organizations, its most devastating effects were on the workers who contrac
"Avoid the Use of the Word Intervention": Wilson and Lansing on the U.S. Invasion of Mexico
In 1916, Francisco Villa, leader of the peasant uprisings in northern Mexico, raided Columbus, New Mexico, in an attempt to expose Mexican government collaboration with the United States. President Woodrow Wilson responded by ordering an invasion of Mexico. Five years after the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, which was characterized by hope for social change as well as death, hunger, and violence, many Mexicans did not welcome further involvement by the U.S. In the following correspondence,
"We Have Got a Good Friend in John Collier": A Taos Pueblo Tries to Sell the Indian New Deal
The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, which became known as the Indian New Deal, dramatically changed the federal government's Indian policy. Although John Collier, the commissioner of Indian affairs who was responsible for the new policy, may have viewed Indians with great sympathy, not all Native Americans viewed his programs in equally positive terms. Antonio Luhan, the husband of the wealthy writer Mabel Dodge Luhan and a Taos Pueblo Indian, was a friend and supporter of John Collier. In th
"We Didn't Have Flies Until the White Man Came": A Yankton Sioux Remembers Life on the Plains in the
In the era before the U. S. Army conquered the Great Plains Indians the region's giant buffalo herds provided the primary food and clothing source for the Indians who lived there. Indeed, in 19th century America buffalo were more numerous than people. The various Lakota Sioux tribes who lived in the area that became South Dakota and Nebraska depended largely on the buffalo hunt according to Paul Picotte, a Yankton Sioux born in 1880. In this transcript of a 1968 interview with historian Joseph C
"We Are Literally Slaves": An Early Twentieth-Century Black Nanny Sets the Record Straight
In folklore the black nursemaid was seen as a dutiful, self-sacrificing black woman who loved her white family and its children every bit as much as her own. Yet the popular images of the loyal, contented black nursemaid, or "mammy," were unfortunately far from the reality for the African-American women who worked in these homes. In 1912 the Independent printed this quasi-autobiographical account of servant life, as related by an African-American domestic worker, which dispelled the comforting "
W.E.B. DuBois Critiques Booker T. Washington
The most influential public critique of Booker T. Washington's policy of racial accommodation and gradualism came in 1903 when black leader and intellectual W.E.B. DuBois published an essay in his collection The Souls of Black Folk with the title "Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others." DuBois rejected Washington's willingness to avoid rocking the racial boat, calling instead for political power, insistence on civil rights, and the higher education of Negro youth.
"The White Man's Road is Easier!": A Hidatsa Indian Takes up the Ways of the White Man in the Late 1
Following the passage of the Dawes Act in 1887, which forced Plains Indians to give up communal ways of life for individual family farms, many American Indians struggled to adapt to the new ways of life being dictated to them. But while many suffered under the federal government's attempt to exorcise Indian customs and beliefs some, like Edward Goodbird, a member of the Hidatsa tribe in North Dakota, embraced the new order. In this excerpt from his autobiography, Goodbird described the often sub
The Bum as Con Artist: An Undercover Account of the Great Depression
Middle-class observers reacted to hoboes and tramps of the Great Depression with an array of responses, viewing them with suspicion, empathy, concern, fear, sometimes even a twinge of envy. For some, stolidly holding onto traditional values of work and success, the "bum" was suspect, potentially a con artist. Tom Kromer's "Pity the Poor Panhandler: $2 An Hour Is All He Gets" exemplified this stance, urging readers to resist the appeals of panhandlers and refer them to relief agencies, where prof
"Speak, Garvey, Speak!"A Follower Recalls a Garvey Rally
The Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey, a brilliant orator and black nationalist leader, turned his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) into the most important black organization in the United States in the early 1920s. Garvey's speeches often drew huge audiences, and stories of Garvey's stubborn resistance in the face of white hostility proliferated among his supporters. In an oral history interview, devotee Audley Moore remembered the Jamaican's defiant behavior at a rally in New Orleans c
Slumming Among the Unemployed: William Wycoff Studies Joblessness in the 1890s
Even before the 1890s depression struck with devastating force in 1893, large numbers of jobless men and women competed in tight labor markets and faced homelessness. One of the best first-hand descriptions of "what it is to look for work and fail to find it" comes from political economist Walter Wycoff's two-volume study of The Workers: An Experiment in Reality, first published in 1899. Wycoff had abandoned his studies at Princeton to seek a more concrete appreciation of social problems. His re
No Way Out: Two New York City Firemen Testify about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
One of the greatest industrial tragedies in U.S. history occurred on March 26, 1911, when 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist company in New York City. In this brief excerpt from their testimony before the Factory Investigation Commission, New York City Fire Chief Edward F. Croker and Fire Marshall William Beers commented on the safety lapses--the locking of an exit door, the inadequate fire escapes, and the overcrowded factory floor--that led to
Comparing Rain-Gauge Data with Radar-Derived Precipitation Estimates
In this lab, student teams collect rain-gauge data and compare it with radar-derived (NEXRAD) precipitation estimates. They use GIS to look for discrepancies between the two datasets and explain them by looking for sources of error in the method. This website details the lab's context and learning goals, and includes teaching notes and materials, assessment recommendations, and links to useful references and resources.
This field exercise determines the susceptibility of different rocks to weathering, and, using the dates on the tombstones, estimates some weathering rates. Placing the field lab in context for use, this site describes the learning goals, teaching notes and materials, assessment recommendations, and provides links to other resources and references.
"Adopt an Outcrop"
In this lab, each student or small student group "adopts" a different outcrop or road cut, describing and interpreting both the outcrop scale features and hand specimens. This website provides a context for the use of this lab, and describes learning goals, teaching notes and assessment. It also includes downloadable handouts and other teaching materials.
Dissatisfied With the Lives They Live: Farm Women Describe Their Work in a 1913 U.S. Department of A
Statistics on women's work in the early 20th century were invariably misleading: most women worked but only a minority were formally in the wage labor force. Nowhere was the discrepancy between the domestic ideal and the reality of women's work lives wider than in rural America. In 1913 the U. S. Department of Agriculture decided to investigate and document the lives of farm woman they discovered a vast reservoir of discontent. The report, reproduced here, was culled from letters responding to a
The Living Edens: Virtual Yellowstone Tour
This Starting Point page describes a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming featured on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) website. In this tour, students act as park rangers to research geological features of Yellowstone, locate these features on maps, and describe and define associated geologic terms. The features discussed include geysers, hot springs, canyons, waterfalls and mudpots. On this page, users can find learning goals, teaching notes and tips, teaching materials, as