"I Am Obliged to Reside in America": A Gay Immigrant Tells His Story in 1882
The reasons immigrants had for leaving their homelands and coming to America were as diverse as the backgrounds of the immigrants themselves. Although most immigrants came to the United States for economic reasons some sought a new home because of persecution based on their politics, religious beliefs, or even their sexual orientation. In this 1882 letter sent to medical writer and sexologist Dr. Richard von Krafft-Ebing, a thirty-eight-year-old German-born merchant explained how a homosexual ar
"I Always Had Pads with Me": A G.I. Artist's Sketchpad, 1943-1944
In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war, thousands of Americans enlisted in the U.S. armed forces. Among them was twenty-year-old Bronx resident Ben Hurwitz. Like many of the men and women who entered military service, Hurwitz (who changed his name to Brown after the war) kept a record of his experiences. But his "journal" was a sketchpad, and, during his two years in North Africa and Italy, Corporal Hurwitz drew and painted at every opportunity. Hurwitz's pictures a
"It Was Considered Low Music": Pianist Eubie Blake on the Birth of Ragtime at the Turn of the Centur
Ragtime music, with its syncopated, polyrhythmic style, was born, according to cultural historian Robert Snyder, in the 1890s in the black saloons and brothels of southern and Midwestern cities like Baltimore and St. Louis. By the end of the 19th century ragtime had assumed a place at the center of American popular music and remained there until the 1920s. Ragtime meant a tinkling piano and no one played the ragtime piano any better or longer than Eubie Blake, born in Baltimore in 1887. In this
A Chinese Immigrant Makes His Home in Turn-of-the-Century America
In this autobiographical sketch published in 1903 in the Independent magazine (which ran a series of about eighty short autobiographical "lifelets" of "undistinguished Americans" between 1902 and 1906), Chinese immigrant Lee Chew looked back on his passage to America, and his years as a launderer and merchant on both the East and West coasts.
A Mule Spinner Tells the U.S. Senate about Late 19th century Unemployment
Fall River, Massachusetts, mill worker Thomas O'Donnell (who had immigrated to the U.S. from England eleven years earlier) appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor on October 18, 1883, to answer the panel's questions about working-class economic conditions. An unemployed mule spinner for more than half of the year, he described the introduction of new production methods at the Fall River, Massachusetts, textile factory where he worked as a mule spinner (a worker who tende
American Soldiers in the Philippines Write Home about the War
During the U.S. war in the Philippines between 1899 and 1904 (which grew out of the Spanish-American War that had erupted in 1898), ordinary American soldiers shared the nationalist zeal of their commanders and pursued the Filipino "enemy" with brutality and sometimes outright lawlessness. Racism, which flourished in the United States in this period, led American soldiers to repeatedly assert their desire "to get at the niggers." An anti-imperialist movement, which rejected annexation by the Uni
"Cast Down Your Bucket Where You Are": Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise Speech
In 1895, Booker T. Washington gave what later came to be known as the Atlanta Compromise speech before the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. His address was one of the most important and influential speeches in American history, guiding African-American resistance to white discrimination and establishing Washington as one of the leading black spokesmen in America. Washington's speech stressed accommodation rather than resistance to the racist order under which Southern Afric
"The Bad News From Chicago": Labor Organizer Oscar Ameringer Describes the Effect of the Haymarket B
The Haymarket bombing in 1886 marked a major turning point in the history of nineteenth-century labor. Used by capitalists as an excuse for a crackdown on labor organizations, the bombing also splintered what up had been until then the strongest labor organization in the United States--the Knights of Labor. The anti-labor reaction that followed in the wake of the bombing helped precipitate a rapid decline in membership in the Knights which was eventually supplanted by the American Federation of
A German Jewish Woman Settles in North Dakota
Women who settled the West in the years after the Civil War often faced harsh and unremitting toil. Laboring from well before dawn until well after the sun had set, women helped plant and harvest crops, raised large families, and kept house with the most rudimentary of equipment. Long periods of isolation from neighbors and kin were common; social occasions or visits by travelers and kin were rare and cherished events. Sarah Thal, a German Jew who immigrated to North Dakota in 1882, recalled tha
A German Radical Emigrates to America in 1885
Labor organizer and newspaper editor Oscar Ameringer the "Mark Twain of American Socialism," as he was often called, was born in Bavaria in 1870 to a cabinetmaker father and a freethinking mother. In this excerpt from his autobiography, If You Don't Weaken, published in 1940, he discussed his decision to emigrate to America in 1885 as a fifteen-year-old "hellion." In America, Ameringer ultimately carved out a remarkable and colorful career as a musician, labor organizer, and especially, an edito
"A Perfect Hailstorm of Bullets": A Black Sergeant Remembers the Battle of San Juan Hill in 1899
The best-known image of the Spanish-American War is that of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback charging with his Rough Riders up San Juan Hill in Cuba. But not only was the role of the Rough Riders exaggerated, it also displaced attention from the black soldiers who made up almost 25 percent of the U. S. force in Cuba. Indeed, the Spanish troops, who called the black soldiers "smoked Yankees," were often more respectful of the black troops than were the white officers who commanded them. Here Sergeant
"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
"Organize among Yourselves": Mary Gale on Unemployed Organizing in the Great Depression
The Communist-led Unemployed Councils were the first and the most active of the radical movements that sought to mobilize the jobless during the Great Depression. In this interview, which is taken from the radio series "Grandma Was an Activist," relief worker Mary Gale, who was sympathetic to radicals and the jobless, described how she worked behind the scenes to encourage her clients to organize and demand better treatment. The jobless and the poor had few advocates for them, and radicals like
Kate Richards O'Hare's Life as a Socialist Party Organizer
In her autobiographical essay, "How I Became a Socialist Agitator," which was first published in Socialist Woman in October 1908, Socialist Party organizer Kate Richards O'Hare credited her career as a "Socialist agitator" to her youthful exposure to poverty and "sordid suffering." As she explained in this essay, her disillusionment with the church and a talk by labor organizer "Mother"Jones further pushed her toward socialism.
"It Is Entirely the Bolshevik Spirit": Mill superintendent W. M. Mink Explains the 1919 Steel Strike
In the dramatic 1919 steel strike, 350,000 workers walked off their jobs and crippled the industry. The U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor set out to investigate the strike while it was still in progress. In his testimony before the committee, W. M. Mink, mill superintendent at the Homestead steelworks, testified that the cause of the strike was simple--the infection of "the Bolshevik spirit"among "the foreigners."
Phases of the Moon
This site contains a series of visualizations of the sun, moon and Earth System and how they relate to the changing face of the moon. Animations are in the form of Java applets, forms for field observation of the moon, and a collection of exercises and PDF versions of background material. There are practice questions and quizzes that discuss the animations.
The Use of a Piece of Land
The Use of a Piece of Land activity was developed by The Maine State Library. This activity engages students in a practical exercise in land use planning and makes students aware of the positive and negative aspects of land use laws and local zoning ordinances through role-playing. The students represent groups interested in purchasing the same piece of land. Each group must research to devise a plan that is legal and environmentally attractive, and present proposals to convince the current owne
Human Tube, A
Against a background of high-rises and rubble, the image of a young man running across an empty lot is repeated. A sense of urgency builds. Buildings explode and crumble to the ground. A hand-held camera surveys the moving ground. Images are blurred, erased, distorted, replaced, and repeated to create this dramatic short work by Paul Garrin. Dramatic electronic music was composed and performed by Ryuichi Sakamoto.The piece is approximately five minutes in length and was broadcast as a segment of
Kissing Booth, The
Documentary-style piece in which four celebrities (Quentin Crisp -author, Emily XYZ -poet, Joe Morton -actor, Spider -musician) talk about kissing, seduction, relationships, love, sex, and romance in the U.S., England, and South Africa. Speakers muse about the subjects and talk about their own personal experiences. Shots of speakers talking directly to the camera are interspersed with straightforward and computer-enhanced scenes of couples kissing. Approximately 28 minutes in length.
Trisha and Carmen
Burt Barr looks at the performance of 'Carmen' by Trisha Brown at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy Scenes include details of the ornate theater, both empty and with the audience stirring in their seats before the performance. Backstage, Trisha Brown speaks directly to the camera and prepares for the show with a makeup artist. In rehearsal clothes, a duet is shown over and over again. A woman treads her way across the space to her male partner, who slowly lowers her to the ground. This sa