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"The arraignment."
John Brown was a staunch abolitionist and a veteran of guerrilla warfare in Kansas who alarmed even free soilers with his forceful assertions of African-American equality. On October 16, 1859 Brown, three of his sons, and 19 associates raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Planning ...
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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The Bloody Massacre
With ongoing protests against the Townshend Duties, waterfront jobs scarce due to nonimportation, and poorly-paid, off-duty British troops competing for jobs, clashes between American laborers and British troops became frequent after 1768. In Boston, tensions mounted rapidly in 1770 until a confrontation ...
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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"The Bostonians paying the excise-man, or tarring and feathering."
A 1774 British print depicted the tarring and feathering of Boston Commissioner of Customs John Malcolm. Tarring and feathering was a ritual of humiliation and public warning that stopped just short of serious injury. Victims included British officials such as Malcolm and American merchants who violated ...
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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"The Process of Coming Back into the World": An American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) Activist Advocates
In 1968, young urban-based American Indians in Minnesota formed the American Indian Movement (AIM) to fight mistreatment by police and to improve prospects for jobs, education, and housing. In 1972, AIM initiated "The Trail of Broken Treaties," and a subsequent march to Washington to present the Nixon ...
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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"The Ruins of Their Postwar Dream Homes": Housing Reform Advocates Testify before Congress
New home construction declined dramatically during the Great Depression as rents rose, reaching an all-time high in 1940. A persistent housing shortage continuing into the early 1950s forced families to separate and apartment dwellers to "double-up." The housing reform movement, largely ineffectual ...
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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The Women's Movement and Women in SDS: Cathy Wilkerson Recalls the Tensions
The New Left facilitated the emergence of a new women's movement in the late 1960's. The rebirth of American feminism emerged in part from the New Left's probing of the political dimension of personal life, but also from the discrimination many young women faced within the movement itself. While thousands ...
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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"I Would Like to See Them Outlawed": Citizens Complain to Congress about Sweepstakes Promotions
In the 1960s, lottery-like contests designed to publicize products through sweepstakes competitions spread rapidly. In the 19th century, every state banned lotteries--defined as competitions in which chances to win prizes were sold÷to protect citizens. In 1868, Congress prohibited the distribution of lottery materials through the mail. The mid-20th century sweepstakes, however, did not require contestants to purchase tickets or products to win prizes and were thus considered legal. In 1966, the
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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James Justen Describes Fighting Chrysler for Domestic Partner Benefits
James Justen worked for 30 years as an autoworker in Kenosha, Wisconsin, first for American Motor Corporation and then for Chrysler, before becoming active in the struggle for equal rights and benefits for gay and lesbian employees. After paying out of pocket for his domestic partner's health insurance, Justen, who was an active member and shop steward for United Auto Workers Local 72, decided after his retirement to fight for health benefit coverage for the domestic partners of gay and lesbian
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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Lorraine Thiebaud on Safety Issues for Healthcare Workers in the Age of AIDS
AIDS emerged as a health crisis in the 1980's and early 1990's. While many Americans initially associated the disease with gay men, ignorance about AIDS contributed to its rapid spread, first to intravenous drug users and then to heterosexuals. The lack of information available to people at risk particularly affected health workers like Lorraine Theibaud, a registered nurse at San Francisco General Hospital. Theibaud and her colleagues, fearful about contracting or spreading the disease, were no
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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"No Other Work Available for Me and My People": A Comanche Indian Migrant Farmworker Testifies befor
In the early 20th century, large-scale commercial agriculture displaced family farms, tenant farmers, and sharecroppers. Hand labor, however, remained more cost effective for harvesting certain fruits and vegetables. Farmworkers under this new system were hired only for seasonal work and had to travel frequently. The migratory experience left these workers--primarily Mexicans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Filipinos÷permanent outsiders and vulnerable to exploitation,
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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"The White Man's Law": African-American Migrant Workers Tell Congress Their Version of a Strike
In the early 20th century, large-scale commercial agriculture displaced family farms, tenant farmers, and sharecroppers. Hand labor, however, remained more cost effective for harvesting certain fruits and vegetables. Farmworkers under this new system were hired only for seasonal work and had to travel frequently. The migratory experience left these workers--primarily Mexicans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Filipinos÷permanent outsiders and vulnerable to exploitation,
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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"We Had a Habit of Being Vocal:" James Justen Describes UAW Local Activism
Jim Justen was active union member at the American Motor Company plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which later became a Chrysler plant. An active member and leader of the United Auto Workers Local 72, Justen recalled that his local was a "rebel" local, more willing than the International to strike when they found working conditions or contract negotiations unacceptable. During the 1960's and early 1970's, the priorities of many locals, especially in the auto industry, differed from those of the inter
Author(s): Center for History and New Media/American Social H

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The Grandparent/Elder Project
Learning history from real people involved in real events brings life to history. The Grandparent/Elder Project provides a means to learn about the twentieth century from real people and primary sources. A 1913 New York Times newspaper provides a view of the world on the brink of a World War. An interview ...
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African-American Sheet Arts, 1850-1920
This collection consists of 1,305 pieces of African-American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920. The collection includes many songs from the heyday of antebellum black face minstrelsy in the 1850s and from the abolitionist movement of the same period. Numerous titles are associated with the novel ...
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Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982
The Buckaroos in Paradise Collection presents documentation of a Nevada cattle-ranching community, with a focus on the family-run Ninety-Six Ranch. The documentation was largely the work of the Paradise Valley Folklife Project (1978-1982), a research initiative conducted by the American Folklife Center ...
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By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies
This is an online illustrated reference aid displaying 156 portraits depicting every American president and most first ladies.
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California As I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900
This site consists of texts and illustrations of 190 works documenting California's history from the Gold Rush to the turn of the century. It captures the pioneer experience; encounters between Anglo-Americans and the diverse peoples who had preceded them; the transformation of the land by mining, ranching, ...
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Immigration/Migration: Today and During the Great Depression
This is a 4-week American history unit for high school. Students conduct oral history interviews, analyze photos, evaluate the relevance and accuracy of primary and secondary sources, discuss changes in immigration and migration over time, and more.
Author(s): Evelyn Bender Byron Stoloff

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The Big Picture
This site offers twelve puzzle sets. Each set challenges you with four or five jigsaw puzzles made from images found in the American Memory collections. As each puzzle in the set is completed, a new puzzle will appear...until you have completed all of the puzzles in that set. You will then have a chance ...
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The Legacy of French Canadian Immigrants in New England
This lesson draws on life histories and 19th century periodicals to help students develop their own answers to these questions: Why did French Canadian immigrants settle in New England in such large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? What was life like for them? What impact did they have on the region?
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