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www.history
Picturing America
National Endowment for the Humanities.
Forty iconic images in American history are presented at this website, designed specifically to encourage educators to use images as primary source documents in the classroom. These works, presented in gallery format, range from a selection of pottery and baskets that date to ca. 1100, to John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Paul Revere published in 1768, to Alexander Gardner’s photograph of Abraham Lincoln, to Lakota Black Hawk’s Ledger Book from 1880–1881, to Childe Hassam’s “Allies Day” painting from 1917, and to Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photograph from 1936. The images can also be sorted by theme: Leadership, Freedom & Equality, Democracy, Courage, Landscapes, Creativity & Ingenuity. Each image is accompanied by a brief annotation and artist biography, as well as links to numerous online resources, including websites and lesson plans. The “Educators” section includes a valuable “Resource Book,” which includes extensive historical and contextual information about each image, as well as a downloadable Powerpoint presentation of all images included at the website for use in spaces without Internet connectivity.
Resources Available: IMAGES.
Website last visited on 2009-02-15.

many pasts
“People we can get along without.”
Between 1910 and 1920, 500,000 African Americans left the South for northern cities, pulled by the promise of jobs in booming wartime industries and pushed by disfranchisement, poverty, racial violence, and lack of educational opportunities. The “Great Migration” placed a strain on cities like Chicago, where the black population nearly doubled during this period to reach 100,000. A series of cartoons by Leslie Rogers published in the Chicago Defender, a weekly newspaper for the city’s African-American community, conveys some of the day-to-day tensions that existed between recently-arrived southern migrants and longtime residents. Rogers’ Defender comic strip, “Bungleton Green,” which started in 1920, featured the misadventures of a naive migrant from the South.
Resources Available: IMAGES.

many pasts
“Can I Scrub Your White Marble Steps?”A Black Migrant Recalls Life in Philadelphia
In the 1910s hundreds of thousands of African Americans headed North in the Great Migration. Arthur Dingle was one of them. Dingle was born in the small town of Manning, North Carolina, in 1891. After holding hotel jobs in several cities, he took a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Philadelphia. Promised his job back if he enlisted in World War I, the company made good on its promise when Dingle remained in Philadelphia after the war. This interview with Arthur Dingle was conducted by Charles Hardy in 1983 for the Goin’ North Project.
Resources Available: TEXT, AUDIO.

many pasts
“In the Shadow of Society”: Migrant Workers and Unionists Urge Congress to Enact Effective Federal Farm Labor Regulations
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, low wages, and wretched working and living conditions. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 established rights of industrial workers to unionize. The Act omitted farmworkers, though, due in part to fears that the powerful farm growers’ lobby would prevent passage. Organized efforts by unions and others to rescind the exemption failed in subsequent years. In the 1960s, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), led by Cesar Chavez, started a strike and boycott of table grapes that gained nationwide support. Although California enacted the first state legislation to protect farm labor union organizing in 1975, other states did not follow, and many union gains in California have since been lost. In the following testimony from 1969, two migrant farmworkers from Florida and a UFW organizer from Washington State discussed their experiences and proposed legislative remedies to a Senate subcommittee. Since 1970, fresh fruit consumption in the U.S. has risen sharply increasing the demand for hand labor. Living and working conditions for migrants remain poor in much of the country.
Resources Available: TEXT.

many pasts
“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, low wages, and wretched working and living conditions. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 established rights of industrial workers to unionize. The Act omitted farmworkers, though, due in part to fears that the powerful farm growers’ lobby would prevent passage. Organized efforts by unions and others to rescind the exemption failed in subsequent years. In the 1960s, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), led by Cesar Chavez, started a strike and boycott of table grapes that gained nationwide support. Although California enacted the first state legislation to protect farm labor union organizing in 1975, other states did not follow, and many union gains in California have since been lost. In the following testimony from a 1969 Senate hearing, two migrant African-American farmworkers from North Carolina presented their version of a strike. Since 1970, fresh fruit consumption in the U.S. has risen sharply increasing the demand for hand labor. Living and working conditions for migrants remain poor in much of the country.
Resources Available: TEXT.

many pasts
“All Our Problems Stem from the Same Sex Based Myths”: Gloria Steinem Delineates American Gender Myths during ERA Hearings
In the years following the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment extending voting rights to women, the National Woman’s Party, the radical wing of the suffrage movement, advocated passage of a constitutional amendment to make discrimination based on gender illegal. The first Congressional hearing on the equal rights amendment (ERA) was held in 1923. Many female reformers opposed the amendment in fear that it would end protective labor and health legislation designed to aid female workers and poverty-stricken mothers. A major divide, often class-based, emerged among women’s groups. While the National Woman’s Party and groups representing business and professional women continued to push for an ERA, passage was unlikely until the 1960s, when the revived women’s movement, especially the National Organization for Women (NOW), made the ERA priority. The 1960s and 1970s saw important legislation enacted to address sex discrimination in employment and education—most prominently, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the 1972 Higher Education Act—and on March 22, 1972, Congress passed the ERA. The proposed amendment expired in 1982, however, with support from only 35 states—three short of the required 38 necessary for ratification. Strong grassroots opposition emerged in the southern and western sections of the country, led by anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schafly. Schlafly charged that the amendment would create a “unisex society” while weakening the family, maligning the homemaker, legitimizing homosexuality, and exposing girls to the military draft. In the following 1970 Senate hearing, author and editor Gloria Steinem argued that opposition to the ERA was supported by deep-seated societal myths about gender that exaggerated difference, ignored factual evidence of inequitable treatment, denied the importance of the women’s movement, and promoted male domination.
Resources Available: TEXT.

many pasts
“The Negro Voter: Can He Elect a President?”
Journalist Theodore H. White received widespread acclaim for his “The Making of the President” series that analyzed election campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s. As White points out in the following Collier’s article, African-American migration to Northern cities from the South made the black voter an important player in national politics by the mid-1950s. From 1910 to 1970, more than 6.5 million African Americans came North, with 3 million arriving in cities between 1940 and 1960. During the 1956 presidential campaign, Democratic Party candidate Adlai Stevenson attempted to win this black vote by voicing support for the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing segregated schools, a ruling incumbent President Dwight D. Eisenhower had refused to approve. Stevenson’s appeal to black voters, however, was muted by his opposition to using Federal funds or troops to enforce desegregation, a position he adopted to avoid alienating southern voters. In addition, in the 1952 race, Stevenson had selected as his running mate a segregationist Senator from Alabama, John Sparkman. In October, African-American Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., announced his support of the President, and on election day, more than 60 percent of black voters also chose Eisenhower. This marked a shift in party allegiance by blacks who had voted overwhelmingly Democratic since the 1930s, when many changed from the party of Lincoln to support Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although Eisenhower’s rout of Stevenson was attributed more to foreign affairs than domestic, the black vote continued to be a major factor in national politics.
Resources Available: TEXT.

many pasts
“The Problem” and “Family Histories”: Charles Johnson Analyzes the Causes of the Chicago Race Riot
As U.S. soldiers returned from Europe in the aftermath of World War I, scarce housing and jobs heightened racial and class antagonisms across urban America. African-American soldiers, in particular, came home from the war expecting to enjoy the full rights of citizenship that they had fought to defend overseas. In the spring and summer of 1919, murderous race riots erupted in 22 American cities and towns. Chicago experienced the most severe of these riots. The most detailed and sober reporting of the causes of the 1919 Chicago race riot came retrospectively from the interracial Chicago Commission on Race Relations. The Commission published a seven hundred-page report in 1922, The Negro in Chicago. Charles Johnson—a Chicago Urban League official, the associate executive secretary of the integrated commission, and the principal author of its report—hoped that by thoroughly describing the sentiments and living conditions of African Americans and the similarities between European immigrants and recent black migrants to Chicago, the report would generate sympathy for the city’s black community. Filled with photographs, charts, and maps, The Negro in Chicago carefully dissected Chicago’s racial problems, including black and white antagonism over housing, jobs, and crime.
Resources Available: TEXT.

many pasts
“It Will Require Much Time to Model the Manners and Morals of these Wild Peoples”: Charles Woodmason Visits the Carolina Backcountry, 1768
Charles Woodmason, a newly ordained Anglican minister, left the comforts of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1761 to travel for six years in the Carolina backcountry as an itinerant minister, seeking to bring the established church to areas where it had not taken hold. He also became a fierce partisan of the Regulator movement, a frontier rebellion attempting to obtain a greater voice and fairer claims for backcountry residents who resented the monopolization of power by the coastal leaders. Although Woodmason was hostile toward the colony’s elite for their lack of concern over the political and especially religious life of the frontier, the British migrant held traditional beliefs about morality and social order. He was appalled by the immoral and irreligious behavior rampant on the frontier, as he made clear in this selection from his journal of 1768.
Resources Available: TEXT.