Activism in New York

Megan Bernth

The Museum of the City of New York has an exhibit exploring social activist movements beginning in the 17th Century through the many movements of the present day. These movements and events are portrayed using artifacts, photographs, and audio and video presentations. This use of multiple sources brings the exhibit to life. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the interactive component, where users can select which different forms of activism they would like to learn more about using a tablet, such as immigration, labor conflicts, or gender inequality. This then takes them through the personal stories and accounts of various protests today. The important role social media plays in activism today is of particular interest as there is a screen displaying posts which use the #ActivistNewYork to show individual’s stories. This stresses the importance of people within these movements, which can be seen time and time again throughout the display where the many ways ordinary New Yorkers have affected and continue to shape their city. As you walk the room where the exhibit is located each movement is given a mural like space where its story and history is told. The sections go in chronological order and as you progress through the room you are moving from the past to the present. The fluidity and the connectedness of the exhibition make it easy to see and develop a greater understanding of the many ways these events and groups were connected.

The accompanying book, Activist New York, progresses in a similar manner. It is split into six sections: Colonial and Revolutionary New York, from 1624 to 1783, Seaport City from 1783 to 1865, Gilded Age to Progressive Era, from 1865 to 1918, Midcentury Metropolis, from 1918 to 1960, The Sixties in New York, from 1960 to 1973, and finally, Urban Crisis and Revival, from 1973 to 2011. These six sections are then further divided into chapters, each focusing on a different form of activism and with an additional segment or two on another influential topic from the corresponding time period. For example, the chapter focusing on Puerto Rican activism has an accompanying segment on Black Power and Asian American Activism. These mini-sections help to provide a more complete context for the time period as well as the main chapters events. Of additional importance with the book is its detailed endnotes, credits and further readings sections as all three provide the reader with a greater understanding of the information as well as the opportunity to dive deeper into the history.

One of the most important and significant aspects of both the exhibition and its companion book is its in depth coverage of history through the lenses of the minority perspective. Rather than simply telling the events with the accounts of those who history is traditionally written, namely the white male Europeans, this collection drives to incorporate less heard, but no less importance, voices. From Clara Lemlich, a young Jewish immigrant involved in the Labor Movement, to Emma Goldman, a young Russian Jewish immigrant who spoke to thousands in a protest in Union Square, to David Ruggles, a free black man who helped free hundreds of African Americans prior to the end of slavery. These perspectives are not ones we often get to hear and their inclusion in these works has a lasting impact on anyone who reads the book or sees the exhibit.

The supplemental activity sheets focus on ten forms of activism explored in the exhibition and the book. Beginning with abolition in the 1800s, students will examine the story of Elizabeth Jennings, who like Rosa Parks a century later, refused to give up her seat simply because she was black. The influence of anarchists within New York City is examined using a speech from Ms. Goldman, an anarchist propaganda poster, a photograph of the immigrant living conditions during this time and the New York State Criminal Anarchy Law. The Labor Movement is assessed using a speech by Ms. Lemlich, a political cartoon on the relationship between labor unions and employers. Women’s Suffrage offers the 19th Amendment, an article by Harriet Stanton Blatch explaining her reasons for being a suffragist, and an advertisement from Margaret Sanger for her first clinic. Other sections focus on Civil Rights, Gay pride activists, and student activism.

Activist New York and the Abolitionist Movement

Directions: Read the background information on the Abolitionist Movement in New York City. Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Though slaves had been freed in New York State by 1827, the African Americans who remained in the City were often met with outright hostility and racism. They were forced out work by white immigrants, prevented from attending schools, and often were denied access to public transportation and places. The State Constitution of 1821, only allowed Black men who owned $250 worth of property to vote, effectively preventing the majority of Black men from doing so. While, slavery was still legal elsewhere in the country, and many New Yorkers still supported it, not all its residents believed in it. David Ruggles, a Black man born to free parents in Connecticut, actively worked to help African Americans escape slavery in New York City.

Document A: The American Anti-Slavery Almanac

Doc B: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (1845)

After my arrival at New York, I said I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions. This state of mind, however, very soon subsided; and I was again seized with a feeling of great insecurity and loneliness. I was yet liable to be taken back, and subjected to all the tortures of slavery… Thank Heaven, I remained but a short time in this distressed situation. I was relieved from it by the humane hand of Mr. David Ruggles, whose vigilance, kindness, and perseverance, I shall never forget… I had been in New York but a few day, when Mr. Ruggles sought me out, and very kindly took me to his boarding-house… Very soon after I went to Mr. Ruggles, he wished to know of men where I wanted to go; as he deemed it unsafe for me to remain in New York.

Doc C: New York Tribune article by Horace Greeley (February 1855)

She (Elizabeth Jennings) got upon one of the Company’s cars last summer, on the Sabbath, to ride to church. The conductor undertook to get her off, first alleging the car was full; when that was shown to be false, he pretended the other passengers were displeased at her presence; but [when] she insisted on her rights, he took hold of her by force to expel her. She resisted. The conductor got her down on the platform, jammed her bonnet, soiled her dress and injured her person. Quite a crowd gathered, but she effectually resisted. Finally, after the car had gone on further, with the aid of a policeman they succeed in removing her.

Doc D: Brooklyn Circuit Court Judge William Rockwell in response to Jennings’s incident, 1855

Colored persons if sober, well behaved and free from disease, had the same rights as others and could neither be excluded by any rules of the Company, nor by force or violence. –

Questions

  1. What message do you think the artist is conveying in Document A?
  2. In Doc. B, how did Mr. Ruggles help Frederick Douglass?
  3. Predict why you have not learned about Mr. Ruggles but have learned about Douglass.
  4. From Doc. C, what happened to Elizabeth Jennings? Why?
  5. Does her story remind you of anything? If so, what?
  6. Using Doc. D, what did the Judge decide in response to the Jenning’s incident?
  7. Is this significant? Why or why not?
  • What do these four documents and the background information tell you about life in New York City for African Americans?

Activist Harlem

Directions: Read the background information on Activist Harlem in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: During World War I, black workers began migrating to urban cities for the factory jobs created by the war.  This was met by resistance from whites who feared unemployment and the loss of their homogenous society.  From 1910 to 1930, the number of African Americans living in New York City increased from 91,709 to 327,700, when it became the city with the most blacks worldwide.  The majority of the African Americans flocked to Harlem, which quickly became central for African American issues.  Many who lived there dedicated their lives to improving the conditions of blacks throughout the country.  This movement later became known as the Harlem Renaissance, where the image of the “New Negro” was formed.

Doc A: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Annual Report (1917)

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People seeks to uplift the colored men and women of this country by securing to them the full enjoyment of their rights as citizens, justice in all courts, and equality of opportunity everywhere… It believes in the upholding of the Constitution of the United States and its amendments, in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.  It upholds the doctrine of “all men up and no man down.”  It abhors Negro crimes but still more the conditions which breed crime, and most of all crimes committed by mobs in the mockery of the law, or by individuals in the name of the law.

Doc B: Marcus Garvey, Explanation of the Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1921)

Fellow citizens of Africa, I greet you in the name of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).  You may ask, “what organizations is that?”  It is for me to inform you that the UNIA is an organization that seeks to unite, into one solid body, the four hundred million Negroes in the world.  To link up the fifty million Negros in the United States of America, with the twenty million Negroes of the West Indies, the forty million Negroes of South and Central American, with the two hundred and eight million Negros of Africa, for the purpose of bettering our industrial, commercial, educational, social, and political conditions… We of the UNIA are raising the cry of “Africa for the Africans,” those at home and those abroad.

Doc C: 125th Street in Harlem

Questions

  1. What initially caused African Americans to move to cities?
  2. What importance did Harlem hold for African Americans during the 1900’s?
  3. What was the main goal of the NAACP from Document A?
  4. Why is Abraham Lincoln mentioned in Document A?
  5. What is the main goal of the UNIA in Document B?
  6. What does “Africa for the Africans” mean?
  7. How are the messages of Document A and Document B similar?  How are they different?
  8. Based on the documents and your previous knowledge, which group was more successful, the NAACP or the UNIA?
  9. Describe the picture in Document C.  Use at least five details in your response.
  10. Predict why the people are gathered in the photo.

Activism in New York: Anarchists

Directions: Read the background information on anarchism in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: In 19th Century Europe, in response to the social unrest caused by the Industrial Revolution, anarchism emerged.  Its core belief was that only when workers rose up against their government and abolished it completely, could they escape their lives of poverty.  In its place they wanted to create a free and classless society.  They were often in conflict with socialists, as they are argued a government run by the working class needed to come before a classless society, though both leftist groups shared the same enemy in capitalism.  Both anarchists and socialists within New York City were either immigrants from Europe or their children, many of whom left Europe because of their radical views.  The poor living and working conditions for immigrants convinced many of them that a revolution was needed in New York City as well.

Doc A:  Emma Goldman, a young Russian Jewish immigrant, speaking to crowd at Union Square (August 21, 1893)

“Men and women, do you not realize that the State is the worst enemy you have?  It is a machine that crushes you in order to maintain the ruling class, your masters… Fifth Avenue is laid in gold, every mansion a citadel (fortress) of money and power.  Yet there you stand, a giant, starved and fettered (restrained), shorn of his strength… They will go on robbing you… unless you wake up, unless you become daring enough to demand your rights.  Well, then, demonstrate before the palaces of the rich; demand work.  If they do not give you work, demand bread.  If they deny you both, take bread.  It is your sacred right!”

Document B:

Doc C:  New York Criminal Anarchy Law of 1902

Sec. 160. Criminal Anarchy Defined. Criminal anarchy is the doctrine that organized government should be overthrown by force or violence, or by assassination of the executive head or of any of the executive officials of government, or by an unlawful means.  The advocacy of such doctrine either by word of mouth or writing is a felony.

Questions

  1. What is anarchism?
  2. Who were the anarchists in New York City?
  3. In Doc. A, who is Emma Goldman?  Is this significant?  Why or why not?
  4. In Doc. A, what rights does Emma Goldman say the people are being denied?  What does she say they should do?
  5. Describe the poster in Doc. B.  List at least five details.
  6. What message do you think the author is trying to convey in Doc. B?
  7. What is does the law in Doc. C do?
  8. Why is this significant?  What does it tell you about the government during this time?

Activism in New York: Gay Rights

Directions: Read the background information on gay rights in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: On June 28, 1969, police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village.  The Inn’s selling of alcohol without a liquor license was the official reason behind the raid, but the patrons of the club believed the real motivation was their sexual orientation.  In response to the raid a riot broke out, and for the next four nights similar protests took place.  “Stonewall” electrified the gay and lesbian communities of New York and marked a turning point in the gay rights campaign.  Prior to this gay people lived in fear of their secret coming out, as they often faced harassment, violence and even job loss when they came out.  Various gay and lesbian organizations were established to further the gay rights cause; often using Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement as a guide, though some used more radical means.

Doc A: 3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars – But They Visit Four Before Being Refused Service, in a Test of State Liquor Authority (S.L.A.) Rules – By Thomas A. Johnson, The New York Times (April 22, 1966)

  Three homosexuals, intent upon challenging State Liquor Authority regulations cited by some bartenders in refusing to sell liquor to sexual deviates, met with some difficulty yesterday finding a bar that would
deny them service.  The three, who were officials of the Mattachine Society, a group dedicated to the improvement of the status of
homosexuals, found their first testing establishment closed.  Then they
found willing service in two other places, even after advising the
managers that they were homosexuals.  But, in their fourth call, when
they told the bartender they were homosexuals, he refused to serve them… Informed of the incident, the S.L.A.’s chief executive officer said that regulations leave service to the discretion of the management and that
they do not discriminate against homosexuals.  He said, however, that
bartenders had the right to refuse service if a customer is not orderly…

Doc B: 4 Policemen Hurt in ‘Village’ Raid – Melee (Riot) Near Sheridan Square Follows Action at Bar – The New York Times (June 29, 1969)

Hundreds of young men went on a rampage in Greenwich Village
shortly after 3 AM yesterday after a force of plainclothes men raided a
bar that the police said was well-known for its homosexual clientele. 
Thirteen persons were arrested and four policemen injured.  The young men threw bricks, bottles, garbage, pennies and a parking meter at the
policemen, who had a search warrant authorizing them in investigate
reports that liquor was sold illegally at the bar, the Stonewall Inn, just off Sheridan Square.  Deputy Inspector Pine said that a large crowd formed
in the square after being evicted from the bar.  Police reinforcements
were sent to the area to hold off the crowd….  The police estimated that
200 young men had been expelled from the bar.  The crowd grew close to 400 during the melee, which lasted about 45 minutes. … The raid was one of the three held on Village bars in the last two weeks.  Charges against
the 13 who were arrested ranged from harassment and resisting arrest to disorderly conduct.

Doc C: Christopher Street Rally

Document D:

Questions

  1. What was Stonewall?  What impact did it have on New York City’s gay community?
  2. What is the Mattachine Society from Doc. A?
  3. Why were the men refused service in Doc. A?
  4. Why did the men go on a “rampage” in Doc. B?
  5. Do you think this is a biased account of the event in Doc. B?  Why or why not?
  6. How are gay men portrayed in the newspaper articles from Doc. A and Doc. B?
  7. How would you describe the people in the picture from Doc. C?
  8. The picture in Doc. C is from the first Gay Pride Parade in New York City, why do you think 1970 was the first year?
  9. Describe the poster from Doc. D. What do you think the artist is trying to convey?

Activism in New York: Labor Movement

Directions: Read the background information on the Labor Movement in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Garment production was the largest manufacturing business in New York City by the early 1900’s and it was fueled by the city’s immigrant population. The work was typically characterized by unsafe and unclean conditions, low pay, long hours and abusive bosses.  Workers wanted to create unions to combat these poor working conditions, but employers were resistant to them.  Despite this, unions were formed by the 19th Century.  With the relative success of the “Uprising of 20,000,” a garment worker’s strike in 1909, the city’s labor movement exploded.  Within the next four years, labor unions increased from 30,000 to 250,000.

Doc A : Clara Lemlich, a 23-year-old immigrant garment worker speaking in Yiddish from stage in Manhattan (November 22, 1909)

“I am a working girl.  One of those who are on strike against intolerable conditions.  I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in general terms.  What we are here for is to decide whether we shall strike or shall not strike.  I offer a resolution that a general strike be declared now.  If I turn traitor to the cause I now pledge, may this hand wither from the arm I
now raise.” –  

Document B:

Doc C: Public Indifference Held Responsible – Voters Should Demand Better Fire Protection, Says Dr. Anna Shaw at Protest Meeting.  “DOLLARS AGAINST A LIFE” The New York Times (April 1, 1911)

A mass meeting of protest at the conditions which made possible the Washington Place fire disaster a week ago today was held at Cooper Union last night… Stretched where everyone could see was a flaring banner which bore the legend:

Nov. 26 – Twenty-five women killed in Newark factory fire.  March 25- One hundred and thirty women killed in Triangle fire.  Locked doors, overcrowding, inadequate fire escapes.  The women could not, the voters did not, alter these conditions.  We demand for all women the right to protect themselves – … “Well it all comes right down to dollars and cents against a life,” Fire Chief Croker was quoted as saying, “that is the bottom of the entire thing. Mr. Owner will come and say to the Fire Department: ‘If you compel us to do this or that we will have to close up the factory; we cannot afford to do it.’ It comes right down to dollars and cents against human lives no matter which way you look at it.”

Questions

  1. How is factory work described during the early 1900s?
  2. Why were unions created?  Why did employers not want unions?
  3. In Doc. A, to what cause does Clara Lemlich pledge?
  4. What do you notice about the description of Clara Lemlich?  Why is this significant?
  5. Describe the political cartoon in Doc. B.  Provide at least five details.
  6. What message do you think the artist is trying to convey in Doc. B?
  7. What happened in the Washington Place fire from Doc. C?
  8. Who is blamed for the fire?

Activism in New York: Women’s Suffrage

Directions: Read the background information on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Beginning in the 1860s, New York City became the center for Women’s Suffrage.  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two of the movement’s most prominent leaders, took up residence in the city during this time.  Later in the 19th Century, it became the center for the “New Woman,” a popular phrase used to describe the young middle and upper-class women who began attending college and later obtained careers; something previously denied to their mothers.  This newfound education and career achievements led many women to believe they were entitled to vote and become more politically active.  In the early 1900s the National American Woman Suffrage Association moved its headquarters to New York City as well.

Doc A: Opinions of Prominent Women – Leaders in the Movement Tell Why They are in Favor of Equal Rights– The New York Times (February 21, 1909)

Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch. – Why am I a suffragist? Because women
are living under the conditions of the twentieth century.  When they
were spinning or weaving, teaching and nursing in their own homes,
with no examining boards, factory inspectors, or school officers to
interfere, a male aristocracy was not so unjust a political system as it is
today.  Women lived then in a sort of republic of their own making.  But with health boards after us, our children snatched from our proverbial
knee by compulsory school laws, and every means of creating wealth
stolen from the chimney corner, and placed in the business world,
women’s concerns have become the State’s concerns…Men cannot feel
the new needs of women, and therefore cannot safely assume to be their political sponsors. 

Document B:

Doc C: 19th Amendment: Women’s Right to Vote (1920)

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Document D:

Questions

  1. What was the “New Woman?”
  2. Why do you think New York City was the home of the Women’s Suffrage Movement?
  3. In Doc. A, why is Ms. Blatch a suffragist?
  4. Why are women’s concerns now the State’s concerns from Doc. A?
  5. Where are the women from Doc. B protesting?  Why there?
  6. Do you think the location of the picture had more of an impact than protests elsewhere?  Why or why not?
  7. What does the 19th Amendment from Doc. C guarantee?
  8. Are you surprised by the year?  Why or why not?
  9. What three languages is the poster from Doc. D written is?  Why?
  10. The poster from Doc. D was created by Margaret Sanger.  What is she discussing?  What does this have to do with Women’s Suffrage?

Activism in New York: Occupy Wall Street

Directions: Read the background information on Occupy Wall Street.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: The Depression of 2008 was set off by many of the world’s richest banks selling billions of dollars in risky investments, including home mortgages which had been sold to Americans.  Borrowers were unable to pay back their loans and the impact from their defaults was felt throughout the economy.  This resulted in the near collapse, or collapse, of many of the U.S.’s financial institutions, the freezing of credit and economic problems throughout the world.  The economic conditions were eventually stabilized, but trillions of dollars were needed to “bail out” the banks.  Unemployment continued to rise, thousands lost their homes, but bank executives continued to profit.  Wall Street, New York, had been seen as the financial capital of America since the 1830’s, and as such it became the center of the protests in 2011.

Doc A: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City (September 29, 2011)

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together.  We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know what we are your allies.  As one people, united, we acknowledge the
reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption
of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their rights and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power
from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth
from the people on the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable
when the process is determined by economic power.  We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest
over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.  We
have peaceable assembled here, as is our right to let these facts be
known. They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosures
process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken
bailouts from taxpayers with impunity (freedom), continue to give
Executives exorbitant (excessive) bonuses. They have held students
hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right…  

Document B:

Doc C: A Day of Protests as Occupy Movement Marks Two-Month Milestone by Katharine Q. Seelye – The New York Times (November 17, 2011)   Protesters across the country demonstrated en masse Thursday, snarling rush-hour traffic in several major cities and taking aim at banks as part of the national “day of action” to mark the two-month milestone of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  While thousands of protestors clogged the streets in New York and more than 175 people were arrested in clashes with the police, demonstrators elsewhere in the country were largely peaceful… Union workers, students, unemployed people and local residents joined the crowds in many cities, adding to a core of Occupy protesters… Activists decried banking practices, called for more jobs and demanded a narrowing of the divide between the richest 1 percent of the population and the other 99 percent. 

Document D:

Questions

  1. Why was Wall Street chosen as the location for the protest?
  2. What economic conditions lead to the Occupy Wall Street Movement?
  3. In Doc. A, what does the Declaration cite as the facts for the Occupation?
  4. Does the document in Doc. A resemble any other document you have read?
  5. Describe the picture in Doc B.  Use at least five details in your response.
  6. Why does the sign say 99% in Doc. B?
  7. From Doc. C, who joined the protest?  Why do you think these groups of people joined?
  8. What does the New York Times say the activists want in Doc. C?
  9. Describe the political cartoon in Doc. D.  Use at least five details in your response.
  10. What message do you think the artist is trying to convey in Doc. D?

Activism in New York: New Housing Activists

Directions: Read the background information on new housing activists in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: During the late 1960’s and 1970’s dozens of community organizations were created to combat the “urban crisis.”  Entire neighborhoods were near collapse in the face of crime, drug addiction, unemployment and housing abandonment which had been going on for years.  The thousands of African Americans and Puerto Ricans who had moved to New York after World War II, were caught between two government programs.  The first, “redlining,” kept them from borrowing money to upgrade or buy homes in either their area or middle-class areas as banks viewed them as a risk to residential security.  The second, was Urban Renewal, where powerful people used federal funds to construct new highways, art centers and apartment complexes without care of the existing neighborhoods.  The people who were crowded out by these new buildings were not given adequate housing and thus were forced into the slums.  When the city government ran out of money in 1975, the poorest areas were virtually abandoned.  In response, the residents of these areas banded together to save their areas.

Document A:

Document A: Bronx Housing Devastation Found Slowing Substantially by David W. Dunlap – The New York Times (March 22, 1982)   New York City officials and neighborhood activists say they are witnessing a marked slowing of the wholesale devastation that plagued the Bronx in the 1970’s.  The burning and abandonment that cut a wide swath from south to north through the borough have not stopped.  But the neighborhoods that are now on the northern edges of the devastated areas show new signs of stability, officials say.  Among the encouraging factors, they say, are that hundreds of buildings are being rehabilitated, that private money has been successfully enlist in the effort and that tenants and whole communities have organized to fight on behalf of their buildings and neighborhoods… If this stability – reflected by inhabitants clinging more tenaciously to their buildings and neighborhoods – continues, the officials said, it may be due to the simple economic fact that many residents have no choice but to stay put. 

Questions

  1. What was the “urban crisis?”
  2. What was the government response to the crisis?  What was the residents’ response?
  3. Describe the picture.  Use at least five details in your response.
  4. What reasons does the author provide for the slowing down of the “devastation” of the Bronx?
  5. Why does the author of Doc. D say, “the residents have no choice but to stay put?”
  6. What changes does the author see in the Bronx?

Activism in New York: Protests Today

Directions: Read the background information on protests today in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: After the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest, activism has continued to play an important role in New York City.  These protests have taken on new strategies, namely social media, in addition to the familiar ones used throughout New York’s history.  Many issues have centered around race, from the Black Lives Matter protest to “Stop and Frisk,” and the statue debate.  The successful push for same-sex marriage in 2015, advocating for AIDS, the protection of undocumented immigrants and the Women’s March are additional examples from recent years, all showing New York City’s lasting impact for activists and change throughout time.

Doc A: New Yorkers Rediscover Activism in the Trump Presidency Era by Gina Bellfante – The New York Times (January 20, 2017): The “movement,” of course is Trump resistance, which is essentially a movement against everything – the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, climate-change denial, the omnibus threats to the pursuit of equality (racial, economic, gender), a general erosion of civility, modesty, nuance, logic.  How to counter it all?  Even if the answer to that question is still taking shape, the intensity to fight back, made evident in part by the Women’s March on Washington taking place on Saturday, is producing what will probably turn out to be one of the most fertile periods of activism on the left in decades.  Right now, in New York City, it is possible to join in an act of opposition to the New World Order nearly every day… The new wave of activism taking hold in New York and perhaps around the country owes a debt to the Occupy Wall Street movement even as its success continues to be debated… It created a foundation upon which politicians and causes have flourished, and build, and demanded power.  And power, in the words of Frederick Douglass, concedes nothing without a demand.

Document B:

Document C:

Doc D: “Why Demonstrating is Good for Kids,” by Lisa Damour – The
New York Times (March 12, 2018) Participating in political activism may be good for our teenagers, according to a new research report.  The
study, published in January in the journal of Child Development, found
that late adolescents and young adults who voted, volunteered or
engaged in activism ultimately went further in school and had higher
incomes than those who did not mobilize for political or social change… Of course, correlation does not prove causation, but the study makes a
case for the benefits of civic engagement… The study’s lead author said
that “having meaningful opportunities to volunteer or be involved in
activism may change how young people think about themselves or their possibilities for the future.”  The research is especially timely as
American students consider whether to participate in the National
School Walkout.

Questions

  1. What are three recent protests in New York City?
  2. Would you participate in any forms of activism?  Why or why not?
  3. Why do you think New York City continues to be central for many protests?

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