The Soul of America by Jon Meacham

Reviewed by Hank Bitten
NJCSS Executive Director

Jon Meacham captures the ‘big picture’ of America’s story in his book, The Soul of America (2018). It’s importance for teachers and students is significant because many of our institutions and principles are currently being questioned and attacked. The Soul of America captures the challenges Americans have experienced throughout our history, identifies the voices who have kept the American people faithful to democratic values and provides references to presidents whose leadership shaped America’s soul.   This book is timely as we are living in dangerous times with divisive statements every day and mass shootings every week.

The opening paragraphs prioritize the importance of presidential leadership in times of uncertainty or crisis: “To do so requires innumerable acts of citizenship and of private grace.  It will require, as it has in the past, the witness and the bravery of reformers who hold no office and who have no traditional power but who yearn for a better, fairer way of life. And it will also require, I believe, a president of the United States with a temperamental disposition to speak to the country’s hopes rather than to its fears.” (11)

Our representative democracy has faced challenges from events, extremists, political parties, and presidents during the past 220 years. The American soul and spirit have been tested with the Alien and Sedition Acts, Nullification crisis, Know Nothing Party, racism, the Great Depression, world wars, and the Attack on America.  The American soul has been positively influenced during challenging times by speeches, books, newspapers, radio, television, films, and social media.  Although we are a diverse, and at times a divided population, we share a common DNA that is at risk to genetic mutations by outside influences.

One of the significant contributions in this book is its perspective on the American Dream during times when it was challenged by racism, sexism, and economic depressions.  In each of the seven chapters there are applications for classroom lessons and debates.  Our students learn about the role of government through conflicts, reforms, legislation and presidential visions through the Square Deal, New Freedom, New Deal, Fair Deal, and New Frontier. The first years of the 20th century were times of prosperity and depression, war and peace, an incapacitated president and the death of four presidents in office, and the expansion and restriction on who can vote. These are applications for the first quartile of the 21st century.

In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan spoke to millions of Americans in both rural and urban areas who wanted conservative values, restrictions on immigration, and an exclusive society for some Americans. The Ku Klux Klan addressed these issues, blamed socialism on immigrants, and found a comfortable place in the Democratic Party of William Jennings Bryan. Hiram Wesley Evans, the imperial wizard of the Klan, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Madison Square Garden in 1924: “The Klan, alone, supplies this leadership…. The blood which produces human leadership must be protected from inferior blood…. You are the superior blood.  You are more-you are leaders in the only movement in the world, at present, which exists solely to establish a civilization that will insure these things.  Klansmen and Klanswomen are verily ‘the salt of the earth,’ upon whom depends the future of civilization.”  (Hiram Wesley Evans, imperial wizard spoke these words in 1924 in Madison Square Garden at the Democratic National Convention)

To understand the divisive words above in the context of the poetic words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” in the sonnet, The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, teachers should consider having their students participate in the following:

  • Have your students explain how and why the Klan evolved into a national organization after World War I from a regional organization in the South after the Civil War? 
  • Have your students cite examples of how the Klan used propaganda and the media to influence Americans and increase their membership. 
  • Have your students research the voices who spoke out against the Klan and for an inclusive society for all people.

The Klan became masters of propaganda or fake news in the 20th century with the popular commercial film, Birth of a Nation in 1915.  The influence of films, radio, and speeches at rallies have a powerful impact on the soul of Americans and their views on groups of people who become scapegoats as they were blamed for things they had no control over. The Klan meddled in the presidential elections of 1920 and 1924. Jon Meacham provides resources for teachers and students with the example of the campaign to defame President Warren G. Harding with fake news that “documented” his ancestors were black. (129)  At a time when Harding could have unleashed a tirade over the radio or in the newspapers, he met the allegations with dignified public silence.  There were also reports of his initiation as a member of the Klan in the dining room of the White House and that half of the elected representatives in Congress were Klan members! (130)  These were dangerous times.

William R. Pattangall, a politician from Maine running for governor, was one voice who explicitly denounced the Klan at the Democratic National Convention in New York City in 1924. “I say to you, that there is need to be sent over the whole wide United States a message…that our party hates bigotry, hates intolerance; opposes bigotry and opposes intolerance; and because it hates them and hates hypocrisy and opposes them, it therefore calls bigoty and intolerance and hypocrisy by their right names when it speaks of them.” In times when fear overcomes our American spirit, other voices need to speak for the rights and freedom of all citizens. There are many examples for teachers in The Soul of America of voices that speak of inclusion, freedom of equality and the rule of law in our Constitution.  Our students need to hear these voices!

In 1952 Margaret Chase Smith, also from Maine, spoke on the Senate floor against the wave of fear that Senator Joseph McCarthy promoted.  “I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution.  I think that it is high time that we remembered that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation…

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism:

The right to criticize;

The right to uphold unpopular beliefs;

The right to protest;

The right to independent thought.

The Soul of America is filled with powerful quotations that teachers can select and organize into evidence packages for students to read, discuss, and form a conclusion.  The Soul of America includes selected quotes from speeches and literature as far back as 1789. These short quotes can be researched in the complete context of documents readily available online in presidential libraries, the Miller Center, The Library of Congress, and other resources. Here are several examples of Evidence Packages that will guide students in understanding the big picture of the challenges Americans experienced in the past 100 years. The examples below provide a context for the power of words and rhetoric for deeper inquiry and student engagement into history.

Evidence Package on The Great Depression:

  1. “In the summer of 1932, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York had told an adviser that the two most dangerous men in America were Huey Long of Louisiana and Douglas MacArthur, the army chief of staff.  Long, the powerful Louisiana “kingfish,” could conceivably orchestrate a coup from the populist left, and MacArthur might manage the same feat from the right.”  (138, A few weeks before his inauguration, there was an assassination attempt on FDR and the mayor of Chicago in Miami, Florida by Zangara, an anarchist.
  2. “Where is the middle class today?” “Where is the corner groceryman, about whom President Roosevelt speaks?  He is gone or going.  Where is the corner druggist?  He is gone or going.  Where is the banker of moderate means?  He is vanishing…. The middle class today cannot pay the debts they owe and come out alive.” (143, Huey Long)
  3. “We have perfected techniques in propaganda and press and radio control which should make the United States the easiest country in the world to indoctrinate with any set of ideas, and to control for any physically possible ends.”  “Diversity – political, racial, religious, ethnic – was the enemy.’  Undoubtedly the easiest way to unite and animate large numbers in political association for action is to exploit the dynamic forces of hatred and fear.” (144, Lawrence Dennis, author from Georgia)
  4. “The GOP, Truman said, was more interested in partisan advantage than in national security. For political background, the Republicans have been trying vainly to find an issue on which to make a bid for the control of Congress for next year… They tried statism.  They tried ‘welfare state.’  They tried ‘socialism.’  And there are a certain number of members of the Republican party who are trying to dig up that old malodorous dead horse called ‘isolationism.’  And in order to do that, they are perfectly willing to sabotage the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States.” (188-89, Truman speech on March 30, 1950 in Key West, FL)

Evidence Package on Civil Rights Movement:

  1. “If on Judgment Day I were summoned by St. Peter to give testimony to the used-to-be sheriff’s act of kindness, I would be unable to say anything in his behalf.  His confidence that my uncle and every other Black man who heard of the Klan’s coming ride would scurry under their houses to hide in chicken droppings was to humiliating to hear.” (215, Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  A reference to a warning to her uncle about a visit from the Klan)
  2. “You know, we just can’t keep colored folk down like we been doin’ around here for years and years,” Wallace told a Sunday School teacher at his church. “We got to quit.  We got to start treatin’ ‘em right. They just like everybody else.”  (218, Words of Gov. George Wallace, AL spoken shortly after World War 2, about 15 years before he was elected governor.)
  3. “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny and I say…segregation now…segregation tomorrow…segregation forever.” (219, Gov. George Wallace, AL)
  • Yet Wallace failed.  The Kennedy Justice Department enforced the court order and the university was integrated.  On the evening of the day federal officials compelled Wallace to stand aside, President Kennedy spoke to the nation.

“Today, we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. This is not a sectional issue.  Difficulties over segregation and discrimination exist in every city, in every State of the Union, producing in many cities a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety.  Nor is this a partisan issue…. We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.  It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.” (220, President Kennedy)

  • “Well, you know, John, the other day a sad thing happened.  Helen Williams and her husband, Gene, who are African Americans and have been working for me for many years, drove my official car from Washington down to Texas, the Cadillac limousine of the vice-president of the United States.  They drove through your state, and when they got hungry they stopped at grocery stores on the edge of town in colored areas and bought Vienna sausage and beans and ate them with a plastic spoon.  And when they had to go to the bathroom, they would stop, pull off on a side road, and Helen Williams, an employee of the vice-president of the United States, would squat on the road to pee.  And you know, John, that’s just bad.  That’s wrong.  And there ought to be something to change that. And it seems to me that if the people in Mississippi don’t change it voluntarily, that it’s just going to be necessary to change it by law.” (221, President Johnson statement to Senator John Stennis, Mississippi)
  • “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” (225, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

  • “Yes, yes, Hubert, I want all those other things – buses, restaurants, all of that – but the right to vote with no ifs, ands, or buts, that’s the key.” (231, Civil Rights Act of 1964)
  • “The march of 1965 injected something very special into the soul and the heart and the veins of America.  It said, in effect, that we must humanize our social and political and economic structure.  When people saw what happened on that bridge, there was a sense of revulsion all over America. 

Revulsion, then redemption: In the final analysis, we are one people, one family, one house-not just the house of black and white, but the house of the South, the house of America.” (238, Rep. John Lewis, GA, Bloody Sunday. March 7, 1965)

“The issue of equal rights for American negroes is such an issue.  And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. 

For with a country as with a person, ‘What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’” (241, Speech by President Lyndon Johnson to the nation, March 15, 1965)

The Soul of America is an important resource for history teachers, a powerful story for your students, and opened my mind to a deeper understanding of why the politics of today need the voices of teachers and professors to advocate for the liberties and rights we, both citizens and immigrants within the United States, have by law.

A Disability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen

Review by Jenna Rutsky

“Disability” as a whole is not a topic commonly found in the average social studies curriculum.  I had history classes that would mention President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of a wheelchair after contracting polio, or a brief aside to discuss President Woodrow Wilson’s handicaps of paralysis and loss of partial vision after a stroke in his second term.  During my time student teaching, not one of the historical figures we learned about had a disability that we discussed as a class.  I struggled between choosing to read either Kim E. Nielsen’s A Disability History of the United States, or Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, but I decided to write my review of Nielsen’s book as I am not getting my special education certification as many of my other friends in the cohort are.  Though my knowledge of the indigenous peoples of the Americas is not incredibly broad, I do have more experience with that topic as I took several Native American history classes during my time as an undergraduate at Rutgers University.  But, aside from an online “Intro to Special Education” class, I felt I needed to learn more about the history of people with disabilities in the United States as an educator who will not only most likely be working at some point with students who have disabilities of their own, but also to educate all of my students about a history that has largely been ignored, in my own experience as a student. 

            Nielsen wrote a book which not only kept my attention with how clear it is, but also with how truly fascinating she kept her writing by including personal anecdotes from people with disabilities, as well from those who have discriminated against them throughout various time periods or witnessed this discrimination.  The main argument of A Disability History of the United States remains clear throughout the entire book: people with disabilities have a history all their own that has fallen by the wayside in terms of historical coverage and mass education to students.  Nielsen argues that this is a history that changes based on time period and culture, opening her book with a Native American view of disabilities before colonization, followed immediately after by a contrasting chapter of how early colonial settlers viewed disabilities.  But more subtle arguments appear throughout the book as themes, such as the reoccurring theme of discrimination against people with disabilities by those without disabilities. 

Discrimination against people with disabilities is still a civil rights issue today, which is how Nielsen concludes her book, bringing the reader to the twenty-first century with anecdotes of modern-day activists.  Another theme of the book is juxtaposing not only how able-bodied view people with disabilities, but how people with disabilities view themselves.  In no way does Nielsen write this book in condescending pity for people with disabilities.  She rather raises people with disabilities up to be identified by more than simply what they cannot do, but by highlighting what they can do in spite of their disability and how in various cultures and time periods, disability was not frowned upon, but instead those individuals were cared for by the community rather than shunned away.

            The argument of Nielsen’s book is effective mainly in its use of evidence to support her claims.  Her information has clearly been well researched with footnotes leading the reader to page after page of resources ranging from peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences (Nielsen, 2012, p. 206) to the text from exhibit posters found at the Library of Congress (p. 201).  When Nielsen makes a claim about the treatment of people with disabilities, it is followed almost always by evidence to back up that claim.  For example, in Chapter Three, “The Late Colonial Era: 1700-1776,” Nielsen writes, “[Those considered valueless and often killed]… likely included those with physical disabilities that made them ineligible for slavery (pp. 43-44).”  The next page provides an excerpt of a primary source by a young boy named J.D. Romaigne serving on the slave ship Le Rodeur where many of the slaves on board for transport to the New World contracted blindness from ophthalmia, a contagious eye disease.  Nielsen cites Romaigne as saying, “The mate picked out thirty-nine negroes who were completely blind, and… tied a piece of ballast to the legs of each.  The miserable wretches were then thrown into the sea” (p. 45).  This gruesome retelling of such an appalling event perfectly supports Nielsen’s claim from just a page earlier; slaves with disabilities were typically “considered valueless and often killed” (p. 43). 

            Alternative interpretations of disability are the core content of the beginning of the book, especially, and this content continues throughout, though more sparsely, as the book goes on.  The remainder of the book focuses more often on disability as widely recognized, but not protected, and it then becomes a civil rights battle for equal rights.  I really enjoyed how the book is written in chapters that follow one another chronologically, to show the history of people with disabilities as one that does simply have an upward growth towards equal rights, but how that battle for equal rights was nonexistent, and then partially won, and then partially lost again, and how this battle continues into today’s society.  It is captivating how Nielsen starts with the treatment of people with disabilities amongst Native American cultures before European arrival, as this is an aspect of the topic I had never learned before.

But the book is limited, though it acknowledges this in the title, since it is only A Disability History of the United States.  The examination of Native American culture is the only look the reader gets at disability viewed by another culture other than mostly European immigrants to the United States.  She writes how Native Americans were generally unfazed by disability as, especially physical disability, was so common in the difficult work required to survive.  And anyone who could provide some service to the community was valued despite their disability.  The author does write two contrasting views immediately following one another, as disability was defined differently by separate tribes and individuals without any laws to define the rights of the disabled and who those laws should include.  Nielsen writes, “Some groups viewed the behaviors and perceptions of what today we call psychological disability as a great gift to be treasured and a  source of community wisdom (p. 5).  She then contrasts this statement by following up with, “Others considered them a form of a supernatural possession, or evidence of the imbalance of an individual’s body, mind, and spirit” (p. 5).  Alternative interpretations of disability are presented throughout the book within the setting of the chapter’s time period; for example, the varying accounts of disability and its differing treatments and levels of acceptance in the next chapter about European settlers, but it is up to the reader to connect those alternative interpretations within one chapter to past chapters. 

            The content of this book could inform classroom instruction in U.S. History not only in New Jersey schools, but schools across the nation.  Personal accounts of disability stretch from California protests for equal rights in the 1970s to “founding the nation’s first disability-specific institution in the United States, the American Asylum for the Deaf, in Hartford, Connecticut” (Nielsen, p.67).  And on the topic of asylums and other institutions for people with disabilities, the content of this book can connect to classroom instruction through the form of visual media.  Educators can connect Nielsen’s discussion of the conditions and purposes of asylums and institutions at their founding to their actual perpetuity in an example such as showing clips from journalist Geraldo Rivera’s publicly broadcast special about the horrors of Willowbrook State School in New York.  I recently watched the special in my “Inclusive Teaching” class this semester, and though it is from the 1970s, Rivera’s piece still sends shivers down my spine today.  It is a powerful visual component to incorporate into classroom instruction when discussing disabilities.

            The content of this book could also be used to engage students in current events by learning about the past.  For example, Nielsen writes, “Don Galloway of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on the Handicapped testified that every day, his office received phone calls from ‘people who are being discriminated against,’ and that as many as three hundred thousand Colorado citizens with disabilities needed civil rights protection” (Nielsen, p. 170).  Students could be asked to connect acts of the 1980s such as this, to modern acts of civilian participation in seeking to influence government. Students could be given examples such as this one provided by Nielsen and be asked to compare to the current events in which many American citizens have been calling their local senators to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos to the position of Secretary of Education.  Articles about the two Republican senators who voted against DeVos, though not preventing her appointment, can be found from reliable sources such as the New York Times, quoted as saying “The two Republicans who voted against the nominee, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said Ms. DeVos was unqualified… Ms. Murkowski also said she had been influenced by thousands of messages she had received urging her to reject the nomination” (Alcindor & Huetteman, 2017).  Students can be asked to draw comparisons between the activism that influenced the acts of these government officials, and in turn, learn about being active citizens in a democracy and exercising their rights. 

            The social studies curricula we have analyzed thus far in class, Jarolimek, Hartoonian-Laughlin, and Kniep, all seem to have at least one common curriculum goal: create active citizens in a democracy.  I believe that A Disability History of the United States could absolutely fit into the curriculum design of U.S. History for middle or secondary school students.  I found Nielsen’s book to be so clear, concise, and grabbing to read more, that I would recommend it as reading for secondary students.  The vocabulary used by Nielsen is easy to understand and the story she tells is compelling, especially to students who mostly likely have never learned anything about the history of disability.  This book can be used to inform students of both middle and secondary education of the contributions and struggles of people with disabilities throughout history.  Nielsen offers countless examples of tales of strife and triumph of those with disabilities for educators to choose from based on grade level appropriateness.  On one hand, maybe middle school students could not emotionally handle the previously mentioned “Le Rodeur” example.  People with disabilities have always existed, and these time periods and cultures in which they are living are mostly being covered in U.S. history classes, but the individuals with disabilities themselves are not.

            The content of this book could inspire empathy, a goal our cohort discussed as a class that we would like to see in our own curricula.  The number of inclusion classes in the United States seems to be growing every year, I taught two during my student teaching, and I believe it is important for the peers in these classes of both students with disabilities and students without disabilities to respect one another.  Knowing the history of the disability movements in the United States can engender respect for a group of people who have been historically oppressed such as when Paul S. Miller, a top-of-his-class Harvard graduate had “over forty firms seeking his application”, but “after interviewing Miller, who was four and half feet tall, firms changed their minds” (Nielsen, p. 171).  This example can be taught to students to show the struggles of those with disabilities, but also their successes, as “Miller later become a commissioner of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and an international disability-rights expert” (Nielsen, p. 171). 

            A curriculum based around including the history of disabilities in the United States, such as the story of Paul S. Miller, would not be difficult to create.  Social studies educators already teach the time periods marked in Nielsen’s book.  For example, Nielsen writes, “The story of Robert Payne and the Disabled Miners and Widows is a story of class, labor, race, and place; it is also the story of the social reform movement that culminated in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society… (p. 159).  Mainstream approaches to U.S. History, based on my own experience in history classes in high school as a student, already include discussions of “class, labor, race, and place.”  To include the discussion of disability in this mix is natural as Nielsen in the aforementioned quote proves, the stories of people with disabilities overlap with other historical contexts already being taught.  To include a history of people with disabilities in the mainstream curriculum would challenge a curriculum that does not always include the stories of minorities based on race, gender, or ability.  During my student teaching, I was expected to follow a curriculum that mentioned a few historic women, barely any historic racial minorities other than those conquered or enslaved by Europeans, and no discussion of those with disabilities.  Curriculum design that includes the stories of people with disabilities paves the way for social studies educators to discuss the stories of all minorities, as people with disabilities can also be racial or gender minorities.  Nielsen’s book makes it easy for the social studies curriculum to include content from A Disability History of the United States, especially with her chapters clearly marked by the eras already being taught in the mainstream social studies curriculum of U.S. History.

References

Alcindor, Y. & Huetteman, E. (2017, February 7). Betsy DeVos confirmed as education secretary; Pence breaks tie.  The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/us/politics/betsy-devos-education-secretary-confirmed.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share.

Nielsen, K. E. (2012). A disability history of the United States. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ty=”48

Writing More Women into United States History

Contributors: Shannon Alexander, Julianna Carron, Charles Friedman, Jennifer McCabe, Shannon Mitchell, Josh Schoenbrun, Stephanie Skier, Jasmine Torres, and Alan Singer

I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Equally Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs.” – Abigail Adams, 1776

“The origin of all power is in the people, and they have an incontestable right to check the creatures of their own creation.” – Mercy Otis Warren, 1788

If Congress refuse to listen to and grant what women ask, there is but one course left then to pursue. What is there left for women to do but to become the mothers of the future government?” – Victoria Woodhull, 1871

“I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislature, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.” – Jane Addams, 1897

“There will never be complete equality until women themselves help to make the laws and elect the lawmakers.” – Susan B. Anthony, 1897

“The IWW [Industrial Workers of the World] has been accused of pushing women to the front. This is not true. Rather, the women have not been kept in back, and so they have naturally moved to the front.” – Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

 “I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.” – Alice Paul, 1972

2020 marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution ensuring the right of women to vote. As part of our commemoration, Teaching Social Studies will publish material writing more women into United States history. This package contains lesson material on the Seneca Falls convention, the 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts “Bread and Roses” strike, 1917 food riots in New York City, the campaign for Woman’s suffrage, changing gender roles in the 1920s, the right of women to continue to work while pregnant, and on a number of individual women including Anne Hutchinson, Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail Adams, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Lease, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Margaret Sanger, Sally Ride, Michelle Obama, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Aim: What did Anne Hutchinson contribute to American society?

Source: Anne Hutchinson in Massachusetts Bay, the National Park Service

Anne Hutchinson was a Puritan spiritual adviser, mother of 15, and an important participant in a religious controversy that sharply divided the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. Hutchinson was part of a religious faction that believed they had received personal revelation about the will of God. Her religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area who believed knowledge of God’s will came through understanding of the Bible. Hutchinson’s popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans’ religious community in New England. Because she refused to change her beliefs and stop teaching, she was tried for heresy and convicted. Her punishment was banished from the colony along with many of her supporters. The painting by Edwin Austin Abbey (1900) shows Hutchison defending herself in front of a court in New England in 1638. Questions 1. What is happening in this picture? 2. Who is Anne Hutchinson defending herself against? 3. In your opinion, what do you think Hutchinson is saying to her accusers and judges in this picture?

The Trial of Anne Hutchinson

Instructions: This is the transcript from the trial of Anne Hutchinson. In 1638, she was found guilty of heresy (believing in false gods) and banished from (forced to leave) the Puritan colony in Massachusetts Bay. Read the excerpt of the trial and answer the questions below.

Gov. John Winthrop: Mrs. Hutchinson, you are called here as one of those that have troubled the peace of the commonwealth and the churches here; you are known to be a woman that has had a great share in the promoting of opinions that have caused trouble, and…you have spoken out against our leaders, and you have maintained a meeting and an assembly in your house that has been condemned by our government as a thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God nor fitting for your sex, and you have continued doing this, even after we asked you to stop. Therefore, we have thought good to put you on trial and ask you what is happening. If the rumors against you are false, we will dismiss the charges so that you may become a profitable woman here among us, otherwise if you continue to speak your mind, then the court may take such course that you may trouble us no further

Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: I have come when you summoned me but I hear no charges against me.

Gov. John Winthrop: I have told you some already and more I can tell you . . . Why do you lead a Bible study every week upon a set day?

Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: It is lawful for me to do

Gov. John Winthrop: It is lawful for you to lead a Bible study for women, but your meeting is of another sort for there are sometimes men among you.

Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: If men came it is because they chose to be there.

Gov. John Winthrop: But you know it is illegal for a woman to teach a man scripture?

Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: Again, if men chose to come to my meetings it was their own fault. I taught all those who came to me.

Gov. John Winthrop: the sentence of the court you hear is that you are banished from out of our jurisdiction as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be imprisoned till the court shall send you away.

Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: You have power over my body but the Lord Jesus has power over my body and my soul, and you should assure yourselves this much, if you go on in this course, I will bring a curse upon you and your children, the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it….

Gov. John Winthrop: the sentence of the court is that you are banished from our land as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be imprisoned till the court sends you away.

Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: I desire to know why I am banished?

Gov. John Winthrop: Say no more, the court knows why and is satisfied.

Questions

1. Who is in charge of asking the questions? Do you think he is important in this society? Why?

2. Why is Anne Hutchinson being banished from society?

3. Why wouldn’t the court explain to Anne why she was being banished when she asked?

4. Why didn’t Anne just deny the charges laid against her?

5. Do you think Anne would have been treated differently if she were a man? Explain.

Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814)

Mercy Otis Warren was born in Massachusetts in 1728. She was a dramatist, historian, and an important political writer during the American Revolution. Because she was a woman and concerned about being taken seriously, any of her works were published using pseudonyms. Mercy Otis Warren wrote poems and plays that attacked British authority in Massachusetts and urged colonists to resist infringements on their rights and liberties. Her home in Plymouth, Massachusetts was a meeting place for the Sons of Liberty before the outbreak of the War for Independence. Her regular correspondence included Abigail Adams, John Adams, and Martha Washington. During the debate over the Constitution, she opposed ratification unless it included a Bill of Right. In 1805, she published one of the earliest histories of the American Revolution.

Questions

  1. How did Warren contribute to the push for American independence?
  2. Where did Warren believe power should reside in a society?
  3. Why is Warren considered “ambivalent” about the new Constitution?

A) Observations on the New Constitution (1788)

“The origin of all power is in the people, and they have an incontestable right to check the creatures of their own creation.”

B) Letter to Catharine Macaulay (1788)

“Our situation is truly delicate & critical. On the one hand we are in need of a strong federal government founded on principles that will support the prosperity & union of the colonies. On the other we have struggled for liberty & made costly sacrifices at her shrine and there are still many among us who revere her name to much to relinquish (beyond a certain medium) the rights of man for the dignity of government.”

Abigail Adams: “Remember the Ladies” (1744-1818)

Background: Abigail Smith was born in Massachusetts in 1744. She never received a formal education, however her mother taught Abigail and her sisters to read and write. She married John Adams in 1764. He would become the first Vice-President and second President of the United States, John Adams. She was also the mother of John Quincy Adams, who became the sixth President.

Abigail Adams is remembered today for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he was in Philadelphia in 1776 during the Continental Congress. John frequently sought the advice of Abigail on many matters, and their letters are filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. Abigail Adams was also a correspondent with Thomas Jefferson and kept both Adams and Jefferson aware of events at home while they served overseas during and after the American Revolution.

Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776 I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Equally Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and Christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us. . . . I long to hear that you have declared an independence and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.  That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness. 

Abigail Adams as a young woman

Questions

1. What events were taking place when Abigail Adams wrote this letter?

2. Why does Abigail Adams question the “passion for Liberty” of the men assembled in Philadelphia?

3. What does she believe is the natural tendency of men?

4. What does she want the new Code of Laws to do?

5. In your opinion, what is the historical significance of this letter?

Declaration of Sentiments, Seneca Falls, NY, July 19-20, 1848

Background: The Declaration of Sentiments were written demands made by attendees of the July 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. The final document was signed by 68 women and 32 men. Prominent signees included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amy Post, and Frederick Douglass.

  A. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.  

B. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.  

C. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer. while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.   

D. The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

 
Questions

  1.  What does the second passage [B] of the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments declare?
  2. What document is it modeled on?
  3. According to section D, why do the signers of the Declaration feel justified in their campaign?
  4. If you had participated in this convention, what specific rights would you have wanted to guarantee?
  5. In your opinion, why did the authors of the Declaration of Sentiments model it on an early document from United States history?
  6. In your opinion, have the problems noted in these passages been resolved in the United States? Explain.    

Contemporary Press Reactions to the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments

The male dominated press did not take warmly to the Seneca Falls woman’s rights convention and the Declaration of Sentiments. Read the articles, select one, and write a letter-to-the-editor in response.

Public Ledger and Daily Transcript (Philadelphia): Our Philadelphia ladies not only possess beauty, but they are celebrated for discretion, modesty, and unfeigned diffidence, as well as, wit, vivacity, and good nature. Who ever heard of a Philadelphia lady setting up for a reformer, or standing out for woman’s rights, or assisting to man the election grounds, raise a regiment, command a legion, or address a jury? Our ladies glow with a higher ambition. They soar to rule the hearts of their worshipers, and secure obedience by the scepter of affection. The tenure of their power is a law of nature, not a law of man, and hence they fear no insurrection, and never experience the shock of a revolution in their dominions . . . Women have enough influence over human affairs without being politicians. Is not everything managed by female influence? Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sweethearts manage everything. Men have nothing to do but to listen and obey to the “of course, my dear, you will, and of course, my dear, you won’t.” Their rule is absolute; their power unbounded. Under such a system men have no claim to rights, especially “equal rights.” A woman is nobody. A wife is everything. A pretty girl is equal to ten thousand men, and a mother is, next to God, all powerful . . . The ladies of Philadelphia, therefore, under the influence of most serious “sober second thoughts,” are resolved to maintain their rights as Wives, Belles, Virgins, and Mothers, and not as Women.   Rochester (NY) Democrat: This has been a remarkable Convention. It was composed of those holding to some one of the various isms of the day, and some, we should think, who embraced them all. The only practical good proposed —the adoption of measures for the relief and amelioration of the condition of indigent, industrious, laboring females — was almost scouted by the leading ones composing the meeting. The great effort seemed to be to bring out some new, impracticable, absurd, and ridiculous proposition, and the greater its absurdity the better. In short, it was a regular emeute [riot] of a congregation of females gathered from various quarters, who seem to be really in earnest in their aim at revolution, and who evince entire confidence that “the day of their deliverance is at hand.” Verily, this is a progressive era!

Mechanics (Albany, NY): Now, it requires no argument to prove that this is all wrong. Every true hearted female will instantly feel that this is unwomanly, and that to be practically carried out, the males must change their position in society to the same extent in an opposite direction, in order to enable them to discharge an equal share of the domestic duties which now appertain to females, and which must be neglected, to a great extent, if women are allowed to exercise all the “rights” that are claimed by these Convention-holders. Society would have to be radically remodelled in order to accommodate itself to so great a change in the most vital part of the compact of the social relations of life; and the order of things established at the creation of mankind, and continued six thousand years, would be completely broken up. The organic laws of our country, and of each State, would have to be licked into new shape, in order to admit of the introduction of the vast change that is contemplated . . . [T]his change is impractical, uncalled for, and unnecessary. If effected, it would set the world by the ears, make “confusion worse confounded,” demoralize and degrade from their high sphere and noble destiny, women of all respectable and useful classes, and prove a monstrous injury to all mankind.   Telegraph (Worchester, MA): A female Convention has just been held at Seneca Falls, N.Y., at which was adopted a “declaration of rights,” setting forth, among other things, that “all men and women are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” The list of grievances which the Amazons exhibit, concludes by expressing a determination to insist that women shall have “immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.” It is stated that they design, in spite of all misrepresentations and ridicule, to employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and press in their behalf. This is bolting with a vengeance.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

Sojourner Truth

Isabella Bomfree was born into slavery in upstate New York. In 1826, she escaped slavery with her infant daughter but had to fight her former owner in the courts to free her son. In 1828, she became the first black woman to win a case like this against a white man. In 1843 Isabella Bomfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth and became an itinerant preacher and political activist. During the Civil War, Truth helped to recruit black men to join the Union Army. Truth was a nationally-known anti-slavery speaker. Her most famous speech was Ain’t I a Woman? In this speech she argued for equal human rights for all women and for blacks. Truth exclaimed, “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody helps me any best place. And ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner Truth was nearly 6 feet tall, and some people accused her of not really being a woman. When someone publicly claimed this in front of her, she paused her speech, glared at the man, and opened her blouse revealing her breasts.

Questions

1. Where was Isabella Bomfree born?

2. How did she use the law to challenge slavery?

3. Why do you think Isabella Bomfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth?

4. In your opinion, why is her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech considered one of the most powerful in United States history?

“Ain’t I a Woman” (edited)

In May 1851, Sojourner Truth attended the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. She delivered a speech where she demanded full and equal human rights for women and enslaved Africans. The text of the speech was written down and later published by Frances Gage, who organized the convention. In the published version of the speech Sojourner Truth referred to herself using a word that is not acceptable to use. This is an edited version of the speech.

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that between the Negroes [Blacks] of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what do they call it? [Intellect, someone whispers.] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or Negro’s rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, because Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together . . . ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

 “Women Suffrage in New Jersey”: An address to the New Jersey State legislature by Lucy Stone (1867)

Sources: http://www.njwomenshistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Woman-Suffrage.pdf ; https://www.biography.com/people/lucy-stone-9495976

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) dedicated her life to improving the rights of American women. She graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1847, worked with the American Anti-Slavery Society, convened the first national Women’s Rights Convention in 1850, and in 1868 organized and was elected president of the State Woman’s Suffrage Association of New Jersey. This excerpt is from a speech she gave to the New Jersey State Legislature demanding the right of women to vote.

Lucy Stone

Questions

  1. What arguments did Lucy Stone use when she demanded that New Jersey grant women the right to vote?
  2. According to Stone, why was the right to vote the fundamental right of citizens?

A. Women ask you to submit to the people of New Jersey amendments to the Constitution of the State, striking out respectively the words “white” and “male” from Article 2, Section 1, thus enfranchising the women and the colored men, who jointly constitute a majority of our adult citizens. You will thereby establish a republican form of government.

B. Gentlemen will see it is no new claim that women are making. They only ask for the practical application of admitted, self-evident truths. If “all political power is inherent in the people,” why have women, who are more than half the entire population of this State, no political existence? Is it because they are not people? Only a madman would say of a congregation of Negroes, or of women, that there were no people there. They are counted in the census, and also in the ratio of representation of every State, to increase the political power of white men. Women are even held to be citizens without the full rights of citizenship, but to bear the burden of “taxation without representation,” which is “tyranny.”

C. “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Not of the governed property-holders, nor of the governed white men, nor of the governed married men, nor of the governed fighting men; but of the governed. Sad to say, this principle, so beautiful in theory, has never been fully applied in practice!

D. What is Suffrage? It is the prescribed method whereby, at a certain time and place, the will of the citizen is registered. It is the form in which the popular assent or dissent is indicated, in reference to principles, measures and men. The essence of suffrage is rational choice. It follows, therefore, under our theory of government, that every individual capable of independent rational choice is rightfully entitled to vote.

D. The great majority of women are more intelligent, better educated, and far more moral than multitudes of men whose right to vote no man questions. Women are loyal and patriotic. During the late war, many a widow not only yielded all her sons to the cause of freedom, but strengthened their failing courage when the last good-bye was said, and kept them in the field by words of lofty cheer and the hope of a country really free.

E. We are asked in triumph: “What good would it do women and negroes to vote”? We answer: “What good does it do white men to vote? Why do you want to vote, gentlemen? Why did the Revolutionary fathers fight seven years for a vote? Why do the English workingmen want to vote? Why do their friends-John Bright and Thomas Hughes and the liberal party-want the suffrage for them?” Women want to vote, just as men do, because it is the only way in which they can be protected in their rights.

Susan B. Anthony Demands the Right to Vote

Susan B. Anthony

Source: http://ecssba.rutgers.edu/docs/sbatrial.html

Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, 1820 in Adams Massachusetts. She was brought up in a Quaker family with long activist traditions. Early in her life she developed a sense of justice and moral zeal. After teaching for fifteen years, she became active in temperance. Because she was a woman, she was not allowed to speak at temperance rallies. This experience, and her acquaintance with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, led her to join the women’s rights movement in 1852. Soon after she dedicated her life to woman suffrage. In 1872 she was arrested in Rochester, New York when she tried to vote in the Presidential election in violation of state law. She argued that she had the right to vote because the 14th amendment said, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” On the final day of the trial, Anthony, who had not previously been permitted to speak, defended her actions.

Questions

1. On what legal grounds did Susan B. Anthony demand the right to vote?

2. Why did Anthony deny the legitimacy of the trial?

3. What other act of defiance is Anthony referring to in passage C?

4. In your opinion, why do some historians consider Anthony’s defiance and this statement to the court among the most important actions in the fight for women’s suffrage and social equality?

United States v. Susan B. Anthony, Rochester New York, 1873

A. But your honor will not deny me this one and only poor privilege of protest against this high-handed outrage upon my citizen’s rights. May it please the Court to remember that since the day of my arrest last November, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury.

B. All of my prosecutors, from the 8th ward corner grocery politician, who entered the complaint, to the United States Marshal, Commissioner, District Attorney, District Judge, your honor on the bench, not one is my peer, but each and all are my political sovereigns; and had your honor submitted my case to the jury, as was clearly your duty, even then I should have had just cause of protest for not one of those men was my peer; but, native or foreign born, white or black, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, awake or asleep, sober or drunk, each and every man of them was my political superior; hence, in no sense, my peer.

C. Forms of law all made by men, interpreted by men, administered by men, in favor of men, and against women; and hence, your honor’s ordered verdict of guilty, against a United States citizen for the exercise of “that citizen’s right to vote,” simply because that citizen was a woman and not a man. But, yesterday, the same man-made forms of law, declared it a crime punishable with $1,000 fine and six months’ imprisonment, for you, or me, or any of us, to give a cup of cold water, a crust of bread, or a night’s shelter to a panting fugitive as he was tracking his way to Canada.

D. May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a $10,000 debt, incurred by publishing my paper—The Revolution—four years ago, the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprison and hang women, while they deny them the right of representation in the government; and I shall work on with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt, but not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

Mary Lease: The Power of Wall Street Threatens Democracy

Mary Elizabeth Clyens Lease

Mary Elizabeth Clyens Lease (1853-1933)

Source: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAleaseM.htm

Mary Clyens was born in 1853, the daughter of famine era Irish immigrants to the United States. Her father and older brother died fighting for the North in the Civil War. In 1870, Mary Clyens moved to Kansas to teach at a Catholic mission school. She married Charles Lease, a local shop owner and pharmacist, and had four children. Charles Lease’s business was destroyed during the national financial crisis of 1873 and the family moved to Texas. In Texas, Mary E. Lease became involved in politics and was an active supporter of prohibition and women’s suffrage. She joined the Women’s Temperance Union, the Farmers’ Alliance and the Populist Party and obtained a national reputation as an outstanding orator. Between 1890 and 1896 she toured the country making speeches. She is credited with telling Kansas farmers to “raise less corn and more hell.” Some scholars believe Mary E. Lease was the model for the character Dorothy in Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” In 1902, Mary E. Lease divorced her husband and moved to New York City. She joined the Socialist Party, became an editor of a newspaper, and campaigned for Eugene V. Debs when he ran for president of the United States in 1908. She died in Callicoon, New York in 1933.

Vocabulary:

foreclosure – a bank takes over of a property after a borrower has not made payments on a mortgage or loan

monopoly ­– A company that controls an industry, good, or service

loan-shark – a moneylender who charges extremely high rates of interest tariff – a tax on imported goods (goods that are produced in other countries)

“This is a nation of inconsistencies. The Puritans fleeing from oppression became oppressors. We fought England for our liberty and put chains on four million of blacks. We wiped out slavery and our tariff laws and national banks began a system of white wage slavery worse than the first . . . Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South are bound and prostrate [defeated] before the manufacturing East. Money rules . . . We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out… We will stand by our homes and stay by our fireside by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the government pays its debts to us .”

Questions:

1. What are 3 examples of “inconsistencies” that Mary Lease lists in her speech?

2. What does Lease mean by “slaves” and “masters” in her 1890 speech?

3. According to Lease, what were the different circumstances of the U.S. regions of West, South, and East?

4. What does Lease mean when she says the U.S. is “no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street”?

5. What economic and policy changes does Mary Elizabeth Lease want?

6. In your opinion, does the power of Wall Street banks threaten democracy? Explain.

Alice Paul: A Woman Who Gave Her Life to Her Cause by Shannon Alexander

Suffragettes protest in front of the White House in Washington DC, February 1917.

Alice Paul’s childhood and religious upbringing strongly influenced her activism. She was born on January 11, 1885 in Moorestown, NJ to William and Tacie Paul. The eldest of four children, Alice spent her childhood at Paulsdale, a 265 acre farm, where she was raised a Hicksite Quaker. Quakers beliefs, such as gender equality and education for women, challenged societal norms at the time. They also believed in making society a better place. Paul Another major influence on Alice was her mother’s involvement in the women’s suffrage movement. Tacie Paul was an active member of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and regularly brought Alice to meetings.

After graduating at the top of her class at Friends School, a Quaker High School in Moorestown NJ, Alice continued her education at Swarthmore College, a Quaker institution founded by her grandfather. After Swarthmore, she began graduate work at the New York School of Philanthropy and also attended the University of Pennsylvania where she received a M.A in Sociology in 1907. In the years that followed, she studied sociology and economics in England and earned a doctorate in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree.

The time that Alice Paul spent in England was a turning point in her political and social life. While working at the Woodbrook Settlement of Social Work, Alice befriended Christabel Pankhurst, daughter of the Emmeline Pankhurst, a leader of the British Suffragist Movement and founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union. The organization’s motto was “Deeds, not words” and it was notorious for breaking the law. The radical ideals of the Pankhurst women inspired Alice and she was transformed into a radical militant suffragette.

Direct Action To Promote Women’s Rights

During the next three years Alice became involved in direct action to promote women’s rights. She and her supporters smashed windows, threw rocks, and participated in hunger strikes, demonstrations and picket lines. She was arrested on several occasions. It was at this time when she also met her “partner in crime,” Lucy Burns; an individual who would be greatly involved in Alice’s work in the United States in the years to come. By 1910, Alice Paul had left England and returned to the United States bringing the radical ideals and philosophies of the English Suffragettes with her. She planned to implement these ideals to help reshape the American Women’s Rights Suffrage movement.

Alice Paul demanded that the United States pass a new constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. She challenged the N.A.W.S.A., which focused on state campaigns rather than calling for a constitutional amendment and supported President Wilson. She blamed Wilson and his administration for not making women’s suffrage a priority.

In 1911 the American Women’s Suffragist movement moved from advocacy to activism. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns took over the N.A.W.S.A Congressional Congress in Washington D.C. and organized one of the largest parades supporting the right of women to vote. On March 3, 1913, 8,000 women – suffragists, educators, students, mothers, and daughters – marched down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House where Woodrow Wilson was prepping for his inauguration. The parade ended in chaos and a riot as police officers turned a blind eye as marchers were mobbed by angry men watching the parade. As a result of the erratic interruption, over 300 women were injured.

In 1913, Alice Paul left the N.A.W.S.A and founded the Congressional Union for Women’s Suffrage, whose sole priority was a constitutional amendment. In 1915, the group was renamed the National Women’s Party. The reorganization of the NWP and the creation of Silent Sentinels marked a new level of struggle. On January 10, 1917 Alice and the Silent Sentinels began their two and a half year picket demonstration outside of the White House. President Wilson was initially amused by the suffragettes. However, his attitude changed after the United States entered the war in 1917. When women continued to picket and referred to him as “Kaiser Wilson,” many were arrested, including Alice Paul, for “obstructing traffic.” They were sent to Occaquan Workhouse, a woman’s prison in Virginia, where they were forced to live in unsanitary cells, brutalized, abused, and generally mistreated.

Hunger Strikes and Prison

While imprisoned, Alice Paul continued to protest for women’s suffrage by partaking in hunger strikes. Prison doctors had to forcibly feed her, sticking tubes down her throat and shoving food into her stomach. Though these procedures were torturous, she never succumbed. Her actions gained her widespread support and other women began to follow in her footsteps. After a 22-day hunger strike, one of the prison doctors was quoted saying about Alice Paul: “She has the spirit of Joan of Arc and it is useless to try to change it. She may die, but she will never give up.”

On November 15, 1917, a date known as the Night of Terror, W.H Whittaker, superintendent of the workhouse and over forty men beat, choked, dragged, and brutalized many of the women prisoners. One of the victims was a 73-year old woman. Once the press released news about the attacks, as well as the hunger strikes and the torturous force-feeding methods, the public became outraged. The women received widespread sympathy from the general public and from politicians, including President Wilson.

In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified and women gained the right to vote. For the rest of her life, Alice Paul continued to fight for women’s rights both domestically and internationally. In 1923, she announced a campaign for another constitutional amendment, which she called the “Lucretia Mott Amendment” or the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). It would say, “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” The ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923, and continued to appear in every session of Congress until in 1972. It was finally passed in 1972, but failed to get ratified by the states.

From the 1920s through the 1950s, Alice Paul traveled across South America and Europe advocating women’s rights. During World War II, she became involved in a Peace Movement which helped give refuge to victims under the Nazi regime. She strongly believed that if women were more involved in World War I, World War II would never have happened. In 1938, she helped establish the World’s Woman Party (WWP) in Geneva Switzerland. The WWP worked closely with the League of Nations to ensure equal rights for men and women.

Upon her return to the United States in the 1950s, Alice campaigned to abolish l sex discrimination. Her efforts were successful, and the sexual discrimination clause (title VII) was added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Alice Paul never married or had children. Her entire life was devoted to the cause of women’s rights. She died in 1977 at the age of 92 in Moorestown, NJ from heart failure.

In 1917 Food Riots Led By Immigrant Women Swept Through U.S. Cities

By Alan Singer and Jasmine Torres

Source: https://newyorkhistoryblog.org/2018/10/1917-food-riots-led-by-immigrant-women-swept-u-s-cities/

Protestors at New York City Hall (Library of Congress)

In February 1917 the United States still had not entered the Great War in Europe. But the week of February 19-23, 1917, there was a wave of food riots in East Coast United States cities attributed to wartime food shortages, profiteering, and hoarding. The New York Times reported riots in New York City’s the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan and in Boston, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In Williamsburg and Brownsville, Brooklyn an estimated 3,000 women rioted overturning peddler’s pushcarts and setting them on fire after food prices spiked. On New York City’s Lower East Side an army of women, mostly Jewish, invaded a kosher poultry market and blocked sales the day before the Jewish Sabbath. They protested that the price of chicken had risen in one week from between 20 and 22 cents a pound to between 28 and 32 cents a pound. Pushcarts were overturned on Rivington Street and at a similar protest in the Clermont Park section of the Bronx. Four hundred of the Lower East Side mothers, many carrying babies, then marched on New York City Hall shouting in English and Yiddish, “We want food!” “Give us bread!” “Feed our children!” The Manhattan protests were organized by consumers committees led by the Socialist group Mothers’ Anti-High Price League, which had also organized a successful a boycott on onions and potatoes.

At the City Hall rally, Ida Harris, President of the Mother’s Vigilance Committee, declared: “We do not want to make trouble. We are good Americans and we simply want the Mayor to make the prices go down. If there is a law fixing prices, we want him to enforce it, and if there isn’t we appeal to him to get one. We are starving – our children are starving. But we don’t want any riot. We want to soften the hearts of the millionaires who are getting richer because of the high prices. We are not an organization. We haven’t got any politics. We are just mothers, and we want food for our children. Won’t you give us food?”

After the rally the police arrested Marie Ganz, known in leftwing circles as “Sweet Marie,” when Police Inspector John F. Dwyer claimed he heard her inciting a group of women to continue rioting while she was speaking in Yiddish, a language it is unlikely that Dwyer understood. Ganz was soon released with a suspended sentence. Dwyer, four years later, was implicated in a Congressional investigation of real estate fraud in New York City.

New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel, who was away from City Hall during the protests, finally meet with the group’s leaders and then directed city commissioners of Charities, Health and Police to determine whether there were cases of starvation or of illness from insufficient nourishment amongst the city’s working class and poor.

At a public hearing the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment unanimously passed a resolution instructing its Corporation Counsel to draw up a bill to be presented to the State Legislature City that would authorize the city to purchase and sell food at cost during emergencies. It also urged Congress to fund an investigation of food shortages and price spikes. Speakers at the hearing in favor of immediate action to address food shortages and price hikes included Lillian D. Wald of the Henry Street Settlement, “Sweet Marie” Ganz, and Rabbi Stephen Wise of Manhattan’s Free Synagogue.

Ganz told the hearing, “We are all of a common people and we would lay down our lives for this country. The people are suffering and ask you to do what you can for them. What you should do is get after the people who have been cornering the food supply.

Rabbi Wise demanded to know if “there is food enough the city or there is not food enough. If there is not food enough here then the city officials should do what England and Germany have done. They should have supplies passed around equally. If there is enough food, the question is: What can be done to control prices?”

Speaking directly to Mayor Mitchel, Rabbi Wise declared: “If an earthquake should happen, you would not hesitate a moment, Mr. Mayor, to go to the Governor or to telephone to the President at Washington if a telephone could be used, or go to General Wood at Governors Island and demand army stores. Of course, that would be an emergency, but this is an emergency also, though, of course, it is not as spectacular an emergency as an earthquake would cause. But the fact remains that you have got to take energetic steps. Let us have an end of this cheap peanut politics.”

In response, the Mayor launched a campaign to have women substitute rice for potatoes while George W. Perkins, the chairman of the city’s Food Committee, personally donated $160,00 for the purchase of 4,000,000 pounds of rice and a carload of Columbia River smelts from the State of Washington. Arrangements were also made with William G. Willcox, President of the New York City Board of Education, to distribute a flyer to every school child encouraging parents to purchase and serve rice as a way of holding down the price of other commodities.

Following the food riots, Congressman Meyer London, a Socialist who represented a Manhattan district, gave an impassioned speech in Congress where he argued: “While Congress is spending millions for armies and navies it should devote a few hours to starving people in New York and elsewhere. You have bread riots, not in Vienna, nor in Berlin, not in Petrograd, but in New York, the richest city of the richest country in the most prosperous period in the history of that country.”

Abraham Cahan, editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, a Socialist and Yiddish language newspaper, reported that they had investigated a number of cases and that families, even with working members, were suffering from hunger.

After speakers at the Boston rally denounced the high cost of food, as many as 800 people, mostly women and children, looted a grocery and provision store in the West End. Police finally suppress the rioters. Philadelphia was under virtual marshal law after a food riot led to the shooting of one man, the trampling to death of an elderly woman, and the arrest of four men and two women. Several hundred women attacked pushcarts and invaded shops.

The United States Attorney for Massachusetts announced the formation of a special Federal Grand Jury to investigate food shortages and price increases. He blamed “local intrastate combinations” that were forcing up prices. New York County District Attorney Edward Swann also began an investigation into reports that potatoes were being warehoused on Long Island while farmers and agents waited for prices to rise.

Another possible source of the probably were coal shortages caused by wartime demand that were disrupting food supply lines. The Bangor & Aroostook Railroad in Maine, that served the country’s chief source for potatoes, reported it had only a five-day supply of coal in stock.

The Times also reported on the formation of “Feed America First” in St. Louis, Missouri. Police officials warned the protest movement might be the result of pro-German propaganda designed to pressure the Wilson administration to embargo food shipments to European combatants. Federal investigators, however, argued that there were no facts supporting this rumor.

Pressure from protestors and the city government pushed New York State Governor Charles S. Whitman to endorse emergency measures to contain food prices. In a public announcement he declared that “There is no doubt in my mind that the situation is the most serious perhaps in the history of this State, and it will grow worse before it grows better. I intend to take any steps that may be necessary to bring relief to the famine-stricken poor in New York City and other communities where there is widespread suffering.” Whitman then called for the immediate passage of the Food and Market bill proposed by a special state legislative committee headed by State Senator Charles W. Wicks. However, by mid-March the original Wicks Committee bill, which would have allocated broad power to the city government to regulate food markets, was dead after facing fierce opposition from farm groups in upstate regions.

A month later everything changed when the United States entered the war. The Socialist Party of America continued its opposition to United States involvement and many of its leaders were imprisoned while the mother’s food campaign receded from public view.

Why did women strikers demand “Bread and Roses”?

Source: https://www.history.com/news/the-strike-that-shook-america-100-years-ago

Massachusetts militiamen with bayonets surround a group of peaceful strikers

Background: In January 1912 a newly enacted Massachusetts law reduced the workweek of women and children from 56 to 54 hours. Mill owners in Lawrence, Massachusetts responded by cutting the wages of these workers by 32 cents a week. While it does not seem like a lot of money now, for workers, whose average pay was $8.76 per week, that meant family members would go hungry. The workers, who were largely immigrant women, went on strike. They were helped by the Industrial Workers of the World and organizers “Big Bill” Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. To break the strike, mill owners hired provocateurs to cause trouble and planted dynamite in an attempt to discredit strikers. Strikers grew so angry that they attacked a streetcar with scabs who were crossing the picket line. Police attacked the strikers, killing one person. The next day a soldier killed another striker.

In February, as conditions in Lawrence grew tenser and more desperate, striking families sent 119 of their children to New York City to live with relatives or strangers who supported their strike. 5,000 people greeted the children at Grand Central Terminal. When a second trainload of children arrived a week later, the children paraded down Fifth Avenue. Because the “children’s exodus” won broad public support for the strikers, Lawrence mill owners and authorities tried to stop a third trainload. When mothers tried to get their children on the train, police dragged them away by their hair, beat them with clubs, and arrested them.

Attacking the women was a strategic mistake. President William Howard Taft ordered the Attorney General to investigate what was happening in Lawrence and Congress held hearings. Striking workers, including children testified about brutal working conditions and poor pay in the Lawrence mills. A third of mill workers died within a decade of taking their jobs from respiratory infections caused by inhaling dust and lint or from workplace accidents. A fourteen-year-old girl recounted how she was hospitalized for seven months after a mill machine tore off her scalp.

As a result of public outcry, mill owners agreed to many of the workers’ demands and the nine-week strike ended. The workers received a 15% wage hike, overtime, and the mill owners’ promise not to retaliate against striker leaders. By the end of March, other New England textile workers received similar raises.

The slogan “Bread and Roses” originated in a speech by Rose Schneiderman, an organizer for the garment workers union in New York City. It became the title of a poem by James Oppenheim and appeared on signs and banners at Lawrence, Massachusetts rallies. It later became a song sung at union rallies and parades.

“Bread and Roses” by James Oppenheim

As we go marching, marching
In the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens
A thousand mill lofts grey
Are touched with all the radiance
That a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing
Bread and roses, bread and ro

As we go marching, marching
We battle too for men
For they are women’s children
And we mother them again
Our lives shall not be sweetened
From birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies
Give us bread, but give us roses 0

As we go marching, marching
We bring the greater days
For the rising of the women
Means the rising of the race
No more the drudge and idler
Ten that toil where one reposes
But the sharing of life’s glories
Bread and roses, bread and ro

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). She was in Concord, New Hampshire, her family moved to New York when she was ten. Her parents were socialists and introduced her to radical politics. When she was 16 she gave her first political speech, “What Socialism Will Do for Women.” At the age of seventeen, she became a full-time organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World. In 1912, she assisted strikers in Lawrence, MA and organized to bring the children of Lawrence to New York City for safety. Flynn was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and she played a leading role in the unsuccessful campaign to stop the executive of Italian immigrants Sacco and Vanzetti. Among other causes she championed women’s right, suffrage, and birth control. In the 1930s she became a member of the American Communist Party. She wrote for their newspaper and served on the national committee. In the 1950s she served two years in federal prison because of her Communist Party membership.  

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was the inspiration for the song The Rebel Girl by IWW songster Joe Hill.

Statement by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn at her Trial for being a member of the Communist Party (1952)

A) I am an American of Irish decent. My father, Thomas Flynn, was born in Maine. My mother, Anne Gurley, was born in Galway, Ireland. I was born in Concord, New Hampshire, 62 years ago . . . My mother was a skilled tailoress; my father a quarry worker who worked his way through the engineering school at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. My father, grandfather, and all my uncles were members of labor unions.

B) I come from a family whose day-by-day diet included important social issues of the day, and from this I early learned to question things as they are and to seek improvements. Thus, my mother advocated Women’s Suffrage, discussed with their children the campaigns of Debs, the Socialist candidate for President. My father read aloud to me and to my brother and sisters such books as the Communist Manifesto and other writings of Marx and Engels.

C) I was determined to do something about the bad conditions under which our family and all around us suffered. I have stuck to that purpose for 46 years. I consider in so doing I have been a good American. I have spent my life among the American workers all over this country, slept in their homes, eaten at their tables. 

D) Our country is a rich and beautiful country, fully capable of producing plenty for all, educating its youth and caring for its aged. We believe it could do this under Socialism. We will prove to you that it is not the Communists who have advocated or practiced force and violence but that it is the employing class which has done both throughout the history of my life in the American labor movement.

E) We will prove to you that it is nor we who flaunt the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but that is has always been done by the employing class. We will prove that we are fighting here for our constitutional and democratic rights, not to advocate force and violence, but to expose and stop its use against the people. We will demonstrate that in fighting for our rights, we believe we are defending the constitutional rights of all Americans. We believe we are acting as good Americans.

Questions

1. What was Elizabeth Gurley Flynn’s background?

2. Why was she put on trial?

3. In your opinion, why did Joe Hill call her “The Rebel Girl”?

4. In your opinion, how should women like Elizabeth Gurley Flynn be remembered?

Battle for the 19th Amendment

Instructions: Analyze the images, the map, and bread the descriptions and answer questions 1-5.

First-wave feminism was a period of feminist activity during the 19th and early 20th century that focused on legal issues, primarily on gaining the right to vote. The 19th Amendment was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and was ratified by the states on August 18, 1920. The Women’s Suffrage Clause gave the right of women to vote.

Daily picketing of the White House in Washington DC demanding the right of women to vote began January 10, 1917. The protesters were pressuring President Woodrow Wilson to support the “Anthony amendment” to the Constitution. During the year, more than 1,000 women from across the country joined the picket line. 218 protesters from 26 states were arrested and charged with “obstructing sidewalk traffic.” 97 were sent to either the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia or the District of Columbia jail.

19th Amendment: “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. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

New York City women line up to vote in 192

Questions

  1. How did suffragettes pressure President Wilson to support the right of women to vote?
  2. What happened to women protesting in Washington DC?
  3. When was the 19th Amendment adopted?
  4. In your opinion, how did state’s that issued women the right to vote prior to the 19th amendment influence its final passage?
  5. In your opinion, why was the 19th amendment a “turning point” in the struggle for equal rights for women?  

Not All Women Supported the Enfranchisement of Women

Source: http://www.crusadeforthevote.org/naows-opposition/

In 1870, Harper’s New Weekly Magazine published a letter from an “earnest and thoughtful Christian woman” opposed to women’s suffrage. In 1895 Massachusetts asked women if they wanted the right to vote. Only 22,204 women answered in the affirmative. In 1911, Josephine Dodge founded the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS). The NAOWS was most popular in northeastern cities. Examine the excerpt from the letter, the flyer, and the political cartoon and answer questions 1-4.

Questions

1. Why does the author of the letter oppose women’s suffrage?

2. Why is the New Jersey Association opposed to woman’s suffrage?

3. What is the point of view of the cartoonist?

4. How would you respond to the letter, flyer, and cartoon? Why?

“The natural position of woman is clearly, to a limited degree, a subordinate one. Such it has always been throughout the world, in all ages, and in many different conditions of society . . . Woman in physical strength is so greatly inferior to man . . . Woman is also, though in a very much lesser degree, inferior to man in intellect . . . Christianity confirms the subordinate position of woman, by allotting to man the headship in plain language and by positive precept . . . Sensible women may always have a good measure of political influence of the right sort, if they choose. And it is in one sense a duty on their part to claim this influence, and to exert it, but always in the true womanly way. The influence of good sense, of a sound judgment, of good feeling may always be theirs. Let us see that we preserve this influence, and that we use it wisely. But let us cherish our happy immunities as women by keeping aloof from all public personal action in the political field.” – Female Suffrage: A Letter to the Christian Women of America, Harper’s New Weekly Magazine

Changing Roles for Women in the 1920s in Pictures

Instructions: How does each photograph suggest changing roles for women in the 1920s?

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966)

Margaret Higgins Sanger was born in 1879 in Coming, New York. She was an American birth control activist, sex educator, writer, and nurse. Sanger popularized the term “birth control” and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger worked as a nurse and mid-wife in New York City in the east-side slums. During her work among working-class immigrant women, Sanger met women who underwent frequent childbirth, miscarriages, and self-induced abortions for lack of information on how to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Access to contraceptive information was prohibited on grounds of obscenity by the 1873 Comstock Laws. In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in Brownsville, Brooklyn and was arrested for distributing information on contraception. But Sanger believed that while abortion was sometimes justified, it generally should be avoided, and she considered contraception the only practical way to avoid them. Sanger felt that in order for women to have a more equal footing in society and to lead healthier lives, they needed to be able to determine when to bear children. She was forced to flee to England to escape persecution, but returned to the United States and continued to champion for the right of women to access information about reproduction and contraception.

Questions

1. Why is Margaret Sanger remembered today?

2. Why is the letter from a mother in “bondage” a powerful statement about the need of women for reliable and safe birth control?

Motherhood in Bondage (1928)

In 1928 Margaret Sanger published a selection of the letters she received from women seeking birth control information. The letters remain a powerful testament to the vulnerability of women without access to reliable contraception. One is reproduced here. A more complete list is available at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5083/.

How can one control the size of a family? I am the mother of four children, thirty years old. Our first child died of pneumonia in infancy. Since I’ve had three others, —six, three years and nine months old they now are, and it’s a continual worry for fear I shall be having more soon as we would be unable to care for them. My husband is a barber, earning, besides tips, $26.00 a week. Out of this we are trying to pay for a home, as it’s cheaper than renting with three children. The baby requires certified milk because I am so overworked I am unable to nurse her. If it were not for my mother we could never get along. I do all my own work, make over all my own clothing and my relatives’ for the children, even all our coats and hats, as I learned to do this before I was married. You can easily see there is no recreation or rest . . . Please don’t think I dislike children; I love mine dearly, but trying to care for them and bring them up properly wears one’s patience all away as I have to make every minute count to keep things going. I can’t afford any improvements to help me in my work. I must wash every day in order to get the washing done and keep the children clean as I have neither the time or strength to do it all at once. With a baby one cannot anyway. I can’t bear to be a cranky, cross mother to my children. I haven’t been to a place of amusement, even a picture show, in over seven years. The last time I was away from home for a few hours visit was Christmas 1924. The only way I can get downtown to shop for an hour is when my husband takes the time off to stay with the children. Don’t you think I am doing all I can without having more children. What help is there for a woman? Must she separate from her husband and break up the home?

Women Who Helped Win World War II

American women played essential rolls on the home front and overseas during World War II. In 1943, a song “Rosie the Riveter,” was broadcast nationally. It was performed by singers and popular band including the Four Vagabonds, an African-American group.

“We Can Do It” was created by graphic artist J. Howard Miller for the Westinghouse Electric Corp
Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter cover for The Saturday Evening Post, May 29, 1943

Rosie the Riveter by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb

Source: http://jackiewhiting.net/US/RosieLyrics.html

While other girls attend their fav’rite
cocktail bar
Sipping Martinis, munching caviar
There’s a girl who’s really putting 
them to shame
Rosie is her name

All the day long whether rain or shine
She’s a part of the assembly line
She’s making history, 
working for victory Rosie the Riveter
Keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage
Sitting up there on the fuselage
That little frail can do more than a 
male will do

Rosie’s got a boyfriend, Charlie
Charlie, he’s a Marine
Rosie is protecting Charlie
Working overtime on the 
riveting machine
When they gave her a production “E”

She was as proud as a girl could be
There’s something true about

Red, white, and blue about
Rosie the Riveter Everyone stops to admire the scene
Rosie at work on the B-Nineteen
She’s never twittery, nervous or jittery 0f

Rosie the Riveter
What if she’s smeared full of
oil and grease
Doing her bit for the old Lend lease
She keeps the gang around
They love to hang around
Rosie the Riveter Rosie buys a lot of war bonds
That girl really has sense
Wishes she could purchase 
more bonds
Putting all her cash into national
defense
Senator Jones who is “in the know”
Shouted these words on the radio
Berlin will hear about
Moscow will cheer about
Rosie the Riveter! g;

American Women At War

Sources: https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/american-women-in-world-war-ii ; https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/rise-to-world-power/us-wwii/a/american-women-and-world-war-ii

World War II radically changed roles played by women in American society. Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent. By 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. About 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces. In 2010, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Women’s Airforce Service Pilots flew planes from factories to military bases. 
Eastine Cowner at work on the SS George Washington Carver, 1943.
Women shipfitters working on board the USS Nereus at the U.S. Navy Yard, 1943
Army and Navy nurses were prisoners of war in the Philippines, 1942

Serving in the Military and Teaching While Pregnant

Most Americans are familiar with the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade (1973) that a right to privacy exists as part of the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that protects a women’s reproductive freedom, specifically the decision whether to carry a pregnancy to term. Forty-five years later it remains one of the most politically contested Supreme Court decisions. Two other court cases in the same period, one that made it to the Supreme Court and one that did not, also were crucial in defining the legal rights of pregnant women and women’s rights in general.

A) Struck v. Secretary of Defense (1970)

Sources: https://openjurist.org/460/f2d/1372/struck-v-secretary-of-defense; http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2013-05-11-chi-justice-ginsburg-roe-v-wade-not-womancentered-20130511-story.html

Captain Susan Struck with her two-day old baby.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Susan Struck was a career nurse and Captain in the U.S. Air Force. In 1970, while stationed in Vietnam, Stuck became pregnant. The Air Force offered her the option of resigning her commission with an honorable discharge or of terminating her pregnancy. Struck rejected both options, although she was willing to place the baby up for adoption. She sued the Secretary of Defense in federal court demanding the right to both give birth and keep her job. Struck argued that the Air Force statue discriminated against her because she was a woman, men were allowed to become fathers, and because of her religious beliefs which prevented her from terminating a pregnancy. The Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals sided with the military. Future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was scheduled to represent Struck when her appeal was heard by the Supreme Court. However Struck’s appeal became unnecessary when Air Force reversed its policy on pregnancies and allowed her to have the child and remain in the military.


Questions

1. Who was Susan Struck?

2. What was the issue in Struck v. Secretary of Defense?

3. Why did Captain Struck argue the Air Force regulation was unconstitutional?

4. What was the resolution of the case?

5. In your opinion, how did this case impact on the rights of women?

B) Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974)

Sources: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/414/632.html; https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/opinion/the-supreme-court-and-rights-for-pregnant-workers.html

As recently as the 1970s, pregnant teachers could be forced to take unpaid maternity leaves as soon if they reported to supervisors that they were pregnant or if a supervisor observed that they were pregnant. In a case heard before the Supreme Court in 1974, three teachers challenged these rules as “arbitrary and irrational.” Carol Jo LaFleur was a junior high school teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. Ann Elizabeth Nelson taught French at Central Junior High School in Cleveland. Susan Cohen was a social studies teacher at Midlothiam High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The cases were combined as Cleveland Board of education v. LaFleur. By a 7-2 vote the Supreme Court ruled that the “presumption that every pregnant teacher who reaches the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy is physically incapable of continuing” was unconstitutional.

Questions

1. What was the issue in Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur?

2. Why did the three teachers bring this case?

3. What is the meaning of “irrebuttable”?

4. What was the Supreme Court’s decision?

5. In your opinion, how did this case impact on the rights of women?

The Court’s Majority Decision by Justice Potter Stewart

Neither Mrs. LaFleur nor Mrs. Nelson wished to take an unpaid maternity leave; each wanted to continue teaching until the end of the school year. Because of the mandatory maternity leave rule, however, each was required to leave her job in March 1971. The two women then filed separate suits in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio . . . challenging the constitutionality of the maternity leave rule. The District Court tried the cases together, and rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments . . . Susan Cohen, was employed by the School Board of Chesterfield County, Virginia. That school board’s maternity leave regulation requires that a pregnant teacher leave work at least four months prior to the expected birth of her child. Notice in writing must be given to the school board at least six months prior to the expected birth date . . . Mrs. Cohen informed the Chesterfield County School Board in November 1970, that she was pregnant and expected the birth of her child about April 28, 1971. She initially requested that she be permitted to continue teaching until April 1, 1971. The school board rejected the request, as it did Mrs. Cohen’s subsequent suggestion that she be allowed to teach until January 21, 1971, the end of the first school semester. 

This Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment . . . There is a right “to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.” By acting to penalize the pregnant teacher for deciding to bear a child, overly restrictive maternity leave regulations can constitute a heavy burden on the exercise of these protected freedoms. Because public school maternity leave rules directly affect “one of the basic civil rights of man,” the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that such rules must not needlessly, arbitrarily, or capriciously impinge upon this vital area of a teacher’s constitutional liberty . . . The provisions amount to a conclusive presumption that every pregnant teacher who reaches the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy is physically incapable of continuing. There is no individualized determination by the teacher’s doctor – or the school board’s – as to any particular teacher’s ability to continue at her job. The rules contain an irrebuttable presumption of physical incompetency, and that presumption applies even when the medical evidence as to an individual woman’s physical status might be wholly to the contrary . . . We hold that the mandatory termination provisions of the Cleveland and Chesterfield County maternity regulations violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because of their use of unwarranted conclusive presumptions that seriously burden the exercise of protected constitutional liberty. 

Women Continue to Transform Our Country

Sally Ride
Sally Ride Michelle Obama Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Sally Ride: Sally Kristen Ride was born in 1951 in La Jolla, California. She was an American astronaut, physicist, and engineer. Ride joined NASA in 1978 and in 1983 became the first American woman in space. At age 32, she is the youngest person to have gone into space. Ride was one of 8,000 people who answered an ad in the Stanford student newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. After she was chosen, she received considerable media attention where reporters asked her questions such as, “aren’t you worried what space will do to your reproductive organs?” And, “Do you cry when things go wrong on the job?” Ride insisted that she saw herself only in one way, as an astronaut. Ride was extremely private about her personal life. She was married for five years to fellow astronaut Steve Hawley. Ride is one of the most successful astronauts and continued her career in researching space until her death in 2012. After her death, her obituary revealed that her partner of 27 years was Tam O’Shaughnessy, a childhood friend. She is the first known LGBT astronaut.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama: Michelle Robinson Obama was born in 1964 and is an American lawyer, university administrator, and writer who served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. As First Lady, Obama worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. She supported American designers and was considered a fashion icon. Michelle can trace her genealogy back to the American South where her great-great-grandfather was born into slavery in 1850 in South Carolina. Michelle has devoted much of her career to teaching the values of self-worth to young women. She said in 2012, “one of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in 1989. She is a Latina American politician, educator, and political activist. In January 2019 she became the youngest member of Congress representing a district that includes largely immigrant communities from the Bronx and Queens. Ocasio-Cortez was elected as a Democrat and identifies as a Democratic Socialist and a strong advocate for a Green New Deal.

Revealing Hidden Figures in Social Studies: Using Trade Books to Teach Women’s Contributions throughout History

Nefertari Yancie and Rebecca Macon Bidwell

University of Alabama at Birmingham fff

As society has changed, women’s roles have also changed. Women and their impact on history have been largely ignored in traditional textbooks (Clabough, Turner, & Carano, 2017). According to the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), including women in the dialogue about history is important for helping students develop their own identities (NCSS, 2010). Set in the segregated South, the movie Hidden Figures (Melfi & Gigliotti, 2016) told the story of four female mathematicians battling both racism and sexism at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the 1960s. Stories such as the one told in Hidden Figures integrate women into the curriculum. Social studies trade books are one teaching tool that can be used to spotlight women’s roles in history.

            This article describes how to use trade books to integrate women into the middle school social studies curriculum. The activities described take students through a series of steps to read and analyze trade books depicting women throughout history. The three women discussed in the activities are Catherine the Great, Hatshepsut, and Joan of Arc. Following a brief literature review about the benefits of using trade books in the middle school social studies classroom, the authors provide three different activities used to integrate women into classroom instruction. The steps and resources to implement the three activities are given.  Additionally, an appendix is provided that contains a list of other trade books about women and their impact on history.

Benefits of Using Trade Books in the Social Studies Classroom

            Teachers should utilize a variety of resources to actively engage students in the middle school classroom (AMLE, 2010). Trade books are one resource social studies teachers can use to examine historical figures and events in more depth (Schell & Fisher, 2006). Most social studies textbooks dedicate only a column or a page to a historical figure. In contrast, the text and illustrations in trade books enable students to explore the values, biases, and idiosyncrasies of people from the past (Edgington, 1998). This makes it easier for students to make an emotional connection with historical figures (McGrain, 2002).

Trade books allow students to examine the content material in meaningful ways. The pictures, text, and other primary sources in a trade book work together to focus on a historical figure, event, or topic (Lynch-Brown, Short, & Tomlinson, 2014). This enables students to infer, problem solve, and make predictions. Biographical trade books present students with situations and/or obstacles that historical figures faced. Students think critically when they can place themselves in the shoes of the person and ask, “How would I have handled this?” This question and similar ones should be answered based on evidence from the text and the pictures, as well as further research on the part of the students. These processes reflect the current emphasis on literacy-based practices and inquiry-based teaching advocated for in the C3 Framework (NCSS, 2013). 

The simpler word and sentence structure in trade books make them useful when teaching social studies content. Struggling readers and ESL students find it easier to read and understand the content (Clabough, Turner, & Wooten, 2015). The easier readability level aids in comprehension, which allows struggling readers to grasp the essential content. The illustrations in trade books also facilitate the students’ ability to generate meaning of the text (Clabough et al., 2015). The different components in trade books allow students at all academic levels to be successful when learning social studies content. In the next sections, three activities are provided that allow students to connect in meaningful ways to female historical figures. The activities highlight the unique challenges women faced as their positions in society changed.

Finding Clues about Catherine the Great

An important benefit of working with trade books is that students are able to see multiple layers of historical figures. Social studies teachers often teach abstract traits such as progressiveness, fairness, and ruthlessness. There are people in history who encompass all of these characteristics, and trade books can help students to examine the social, political, and cultural context under which these people were shaped. As a result, they can also come to understand that all people are riddled with contradictions (Fresch & Harkins, 2009).

A trade book that shows complexity and depth in a historical figure is Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia (Vincent, 2009). Much focus is paid on Catherine’s reign, as she seized power from her husband and ruled Russia as a progressive queen for over 30 years. The following activity provides students with an opportunity to foster their analytical skills by examining the reign of Catherine the Great. The teacher begins the activity by reading the trade book aloud to the class. Students focus on the part of the book where Catherine shows herself to be a strong, arguably ruthless, leader who also embraced reforms, such as creating schools for young girls and encouraging the use of modern sciences and medicines.

After the reading of the text, the students are divided into pairs. Each pair is given two pictures of Catherine the Great and a graphic organizer. There is a prompt on the graphic organizer that reads as follows: “Catherine the Great was a queen who was controversial. What kind of ruler was she? Use clues from the pictures to answer the question.” The graphic organizer consists of two boxes that are side by side. Each box contains a different picture of Catherine the great and space for students to write down at least four “clues” about the pictures. The teacher informs the students that they only use the images for the clues to help them answer the prompt. For each detail, students should also briefly explain their reasoning by using evidence from the trade book to support their claims. A sample graphic organizer is provided in the next section.

Possible Student Example of Graphic Organizer

The teacher brings the class together to discuss the clues they discovered in each picture and what they believe the details say about Catherine the Great as a ruler. This is an opportunity for students to share and learn from each other. They can explain their thinking processes and also defend their ideas with evidence from the paintings and the trade book. After the discussion, the teacher provides students with the instructions for the writing activity. Students write two paragraphs that consist of five to eight sentences each. Using clues from their graphic organizers as supporting details, they compare and contrast Catherine the Great’s two leadership styles. The writing piece also needs to include how students believe Catherine should be remembered as a ruler. The authors have given an example of the writing activity in the next section.

Possible Student Example of Writing Activity

Catherine the Great had two aspects to her style of leadership. She was an avid learner of the Enlightenment philosophers and wanted to learn about their philosophies to make the lives of her subjects better. Political thinkers were invited to Russia, and Catherine would speak with them about their ideas. This resulted in her creating reforms such as opening schools for girls. However, Catherine the Great also had another side to her leadership style.

Catherine could be very controlling. While Catherine did use the military to expand the borders of Russia, she also used the military to take control of Russia from her husband, Peter. The Church’s land and wealth were taken over, which meant the Church had to answer to her. Catherine was progressive-minded, but she did not do much to help the millions of serfs in Russia. However, there are other reasons history should remember her as a good ruler. She was smart enough to take power from her husband because he was not ruling in the best interest of the people. Politicians and other nobles appreciated that she listened to them, and the common people were grateful for the reforms that were established in Russia. Catherine had absolute control over Russia, but so did other rulers of countries during the same time period. During this time, a person had to be strong to rule, and Catherine showed she had the strength to keep power.

This activity is beneficial to students because it utilizes trade books in a manner that usually cannot be done with textbooks. Textbooks usually provide superficial information about a historical figure, barely scraping the surface of how the time period’s culture, traditions, and politics shaped the person’s decisions and actions. Trade books can bring historical figures to life by allowing students to see the contradictions that exist within people. For instance, Catherine the Great fully embraced the Enlightenment philosophies, while at the same time doing very little to ease the oppression of Russian serfs. Activities with trade books allow students to see figures from the past as three dimensional and requires them to think on a higher level (Brooks & Endacott, 2013; Edgington, 1998). The analysis of the seemingly divergent aspects of Catherine’s personalities may lead students to understand that history is not black and white, but many shades of gray.

Dedicating Hieroglyphics to Hatshepsut

Janice Trecker (1973) offered insight into how little women were featured in U. S. History high school textbooks of the 1960s. As a result, when asked to name women from American history, students could name very few. Today’s history textbooks may include more women, but the information remains limited (Allard, Clark, & Mahoney, 2004). Trade books are resources teachers can use to fill the gap often left by textbooks. The rich content and pictures provide students with material that demonstrates how women have not only contributed to history but accomplished great deeds.     

A trade book that illustrates a woman in a leadership role is Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself (Andronik, 2001). Hatshepsut’s life is explored, from her childhood to her rise as a successful female pharaoh. The following activity highlights the section of the book where Hatshepsut has her greatest temple built, the “Holy of Holies.” The teacher reads aloud how the carvings on the walls of the temple depicted Hatshepsut’s life, accomplishments, and how the gods chose her to rule. The will of the gods was often interpreted by priests and inscribed on walls of temples, along with great stories about the prowess and great attributes of the pharaoh. This activity has students create their own inscriptions for the wall of Hatshepsut’s temples. They use hieroglyphics to tell about her life and great deeds. The message in the hieroglyphics are supported by evidence in the trade books. It is recommended that the teacher provides students with a copy of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet and symbols that mean entire words, such as “pharaoh.” Examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics can be accessed at https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_egypt/hieroglyphics_examples_alphabet.php and http://www.landofpyramids.org/egyptian-hieroglyphics.htm.

Students use the hieroglyphics as a guide. They pretend to be scribes who are instructed to engrave into the walls of the Holy of Holies why Hatshepsut is such a great ruler.  The hieroglyphics are drawn on paper that is provided by the teacher. The drawings must use a combination of the alphabet and symbols to describe Hatshepsut’s accomplishments and her attributes as a leader. The “engravings” must be supported by at least two details from the trade books. See the following as an example.

Possible Examples of a Student Engraving

After completing the hieroglyphics, students write a paragraph that consists of six to ten sentences. The paragraph must explain the meaning of the hieroglyphics, and students must cite at least two details from the text to support their claim. In addition, they are to express whether they believe it was an accomplishment for a woman to attain the position of pharaoh during this time period. Students give at least one reason to support their answer. The authors provide a possible example in the following section.

Possible Example of a Student Paragraph

Hatshepsut was a woman who declared herself pharaoh and reigned over Egypt at a time when women were not supposed to rule by themselves. She even dressed as a man by wearing a short kilt instead of a long dress and tied a gold beard to her chin. The hieroglyphics show this by the man and woman side by side next to the symbol for crown. Many Egyptian pharaohs wanted to be remembered by building great monuments. Hatshepsut built a famous temple that is called the Holy of Holies, which is portrayed by the symbol for a temple. The temple was built under the watchful eye and blessing of the god Horus. The falcon represents him. It was an accomplishment for Hatshepsut to attain the position of pharaoh during this time period. In ancient Egypt, there was not a word in the language for a female ruler so by becoming pharaoh she carved her own place in history by ruling Egypt for 22 years.

Trade books provide an in depth look into the lives of historical figures (Edgington, 1998). Textbooks tend to glance over events that define and shape the lives of a person. This activity allows student to examine such pivotal moments and examine how culture, the time period, and societal norms shape a historical figure’s actions and decisions. It is important for students to be able to view people from the past in historical context (Brooks & Endacott, 2013; Colby, 2010). By knowing the political, social, and cultural customs of the era, students gain insight into why people made certain decisions as well as better understand the ramifications of a woman taking a leadership role of the pharaoh.

Tweeting with Joan of Arc

            Social studies textbooks often give limited versions of stories that deserve to be told in greater detail. Trade books can be used to tell the accounts of people and events in a manner that students find engaging and interesting (McGrain, 2002). This is especially true with biographical trade books about women. The challenges women faced were as unique as the methods chosen to meet them. Students will find themselves invested in the lives of these historical women as they learn about the courage it took to succeed in a male-dominated world.

            Teachers can use the trade book Joan of Arc to help foster students’ empathy as they explore the values, beliefs, and courageous actions of a teenage girl (Demi, 2011). This activity focuses on the section in the trade book when Joan was captured by the Burgundians, put on trial, and executed. The teacher reads aloud to students and shows the illustrations of Joan’s journey from arrest to execution. Then, each student is given a “Tweet” handout. The worksheet resembles a tweet with some of the same features students would find on an actual Twitter account. Students assume the role of a person from Joan of Arc’s time and write a tweet as the historical figure. They should use all of the literary mechanisms employed by Twitter, such as the acronym LOL, which stands for “laugh out loud.”

            The teacher instructs students to send a tweet to the Burgundian or the French people where they are stating their opinion about the fate of Joan of Arc. A prompt should be included on the handout. A possible prompt may include the following. “Dear (insert French or Burgundian people), I feel what happened to Joan of Arc was (insert a descriptor)! Joan of Arc…” Students support their opinion about what happened to Joan at the hands of the Burgundians. They are required to use at least one supporting detail from the book to support their opinion. There is a 50-word count, which does not include the prompt. This word limit challenges students to edit their work so it must include the most relevant information.

The hashtag comment at the end of the tweet should reflect the message and its overall tone. For instance, if a student’s tweet is angry, the hashtag comment should reflect the same emotion. After completing the activity, the teacher brings the class together and allows students to read their tweets aloud. The authors have provided a possible example of a tweet in the next section.

Possible Student Example of a Tweet

Trade books draw students into the lives of biographical figures. In order for students to respond empathically, they need to be able to see another’s perspective (Ashby & Lee, 2001). The ability to see perspectives and express empathy is essential in social studies. If students are going to be engaged in the classroom, they need to connect and care about the historical figures being studied (Brooks, 2008). When students become invested in the lives of people from the past, they want to understand the decisions that were made, and this may lead to a deeper and more meaningful exploration and understanding of the content. Trade books are a resource that bridges the gap left by textbooks while at the same time helping to develop skills, such as empathy, that are necessary in the social studies classroom.

Closing Remarks

            Social studies teachers face the challenge of engaging students in the middle school classroom. It can be difficult to encourage middle school students to find meaning and relevance in people, places, and events that existed hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Too many history textbooks tend to treat important historical figures and events like a 30-second bulletin on a news broadcast. Biographical trade books allow students to experience the lives of historical figures in depth. Through the pictures and text, students are able to make emotional connections with people from the past (Schell & Fisher, 2006). Historical figures are no longer names mentioned briefly on a page but become real people who faced obstacles and triumphs. Students have a better chance of empathizing with historical figures’ situations, challenges, and choices (Ashby & Lee, 2001).

            Trade books also provide social studies teachers the opportunity to highlight the many women that have shaped history. Often, textbooks underrepresent women and their contributions to society (Allard, Clark, & Mahoney, 2004). Activities like those discussed in this article allow students the opportunity to utilize trade books to examine the lives of women in meaningful and interactive ways. This makes the inclusion of people from all backgrounds and cultures essential. An appendix is given that contains additional trade books focusing on women. AMLE’s This We Believe (2010) places an emphasis on diversity in culture, background, and gender. Trade books and associated activities enable students to have a more diverse view of history than may be possible with social studies textbooks.

References

Allard, J., Clark, R., & Mahoney, T. (2004). How much of the sky? Women in American high school history textbooks from the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. Social Education, 68(1), 57-67.

AMLE. (2010). This we believe: Keys to education young adolescents. Westerville, OH: Author.

Ashby, R. & Lee, P. (2001). Empathy, perspective taking, and rational understanding. In O. L. Davis Jr., E. A. Yeager, & S. J. Foster (Eds.), Historical empathy and perspective taking in the social studies (pp. 1-21). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Brooks, S. (2008). Displaying historical empathy: What impact can a writing assignment have? Social Studies Research and Practice, 3(2), 130-146.

Brooks, S. & Endacott, J. (2013). An updated theoretical and practical model for promoting historical empathy. Social Studies Research and Practice, 8(1), 41-58.

Clabough, J., Turner, T., & Wooten, D. (2015). Up, up, and away: Using heroes of flight with middle graders. Tennessee Reading Teacher, 40(2), 5-14.

Clabough, J., Turner, T., & Carano, K. (2017). When the lion roars everyone listens: Scary good middle school social studies. Westerville, OH: Association for Middle Level Education.

Colby, S. R. (2010). Contextualization and historical empathy. Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue, 12(.5), 69-83.

Edgington, W. D. (1998). The use of children’s literature in middle school social studies: What research does and does not show. Clearing House, 72(2), 121-126.

Fresch, M. J., & Harkins, P. (2009). The power of picture books: Using content area literature in middle school. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Lynch-Brown, C., Short, K., & Tomlinson, C. (2013). Essentials of children’s literature (8th ed.). London, UK: Pearson.

McGrain, M. (2002). A comparison between a trade book and textbook instructional approach in a multiage elementary social studies class. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1268&context=ehd_theses

Melfi, T. & Gigliotti, D. (2016). Hidden Figures [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox Studios.

NCSS (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies: A framework for teaching, learning, and assessment. Silver Spring, MD: Author.

NCSS. (2013). The college, career, and civic life (C3) framework for social studies state standards: Guidance for enhancing the rigor of K-12 civics, economics, geography, and history. Silver Springs, MD: Author.

Schell, E. & Fisher, D. (2006). Teaching social studies: A literary-based approach. London, UK: Pearson.

Trecker, J. L. (1973). Women in U.S. history high school textbooks. International Review of Education, 19(1), 133-139.

Three Trade Books Referenced in the Article

Andronik, C. M. (2001). Hatshepsut: His majesty, herself. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Demi. (2011). Joan of Arc. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children.

Vincent, Z. (2009). Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia. London, UK: Franklin Watts Publishing.

Appendix of Additional Trade Books Focusing on Women’s Roles in History

Empress Cixi

Price, S. S. (2009). Cixi: Evil empress of China? London, UK: Franklin Watts Publishing.

Frida

Brown, M. & Parra, J. (Illustrator). (2017). Frida Kahlo and her animalitos. New York: NY: NorthSouth Books.

Jane Addams

Stone, T. L. (2015). The house that Jane built: A story about Jane Addams. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Mulholland, L., & Janssen, C. (Illustrator). (2016). She stood for freedom, the untold story of a civil rights hero: Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. Salt Lake City, UT: Shadow Mountain.

Josephine Baker

Powell, P. H. & Robinson, C. (Illustrator). (2014). Josephine: the dazzling life of Josephine baker. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Marie Curie

Demi. (2018). Marie Curie. New York: NY: Henry Holt and Co.

Mary Tudor

Buchanan, J. (2008). Mary Tudor: Courageous queen or Bloody Mary? Danbury, CT: Children’s Press.

Michelle Obama

Parker, M. G. & Birge, M. (Illustrator). (2009). I am Michelle Obama: The first lady. Atlanta, GA: Tumaini Publishing LLC.

Queen Victoria of England

Whelan, G. & Carpenter, N. (Illustrator). (2014). Queen Victoria’s bathing machine. New York: NY: Simon & Schuster.

Sara Roberts

Goodman, S.E. & Lewis, E.B. (Illustrator). (2016). The first step: How one girl put segregation on trial. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Sacajawea

Willard, J. (1918/2017). Bird Woman (Sacajawea) the guide of Lewis and Clark: Her own story now first given to the world. Los Angeles, CA: Enhanced Media Publishing.

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?

The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and its Impact

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Its Impact

by Megan Bernth with Kyle Novak

Martin-Luther-King-Assassinted-New-York-Times-April-5-1968

The life, ideas, and achievements of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. enter the curriculum during an examination of the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s or if a school commemorates his birthday or Black History Month. Reverend King’s impact on the United States continued after he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 because his ideas lived on and his achievements continued to influence people. His assassination also contributed to the racial divide in the United States, as African American communities exploded in anger. The material in this curriculum package focuses on the immediate response to his murder, testimonials and rioting, controversy about his killer, and King’s long-term legacy. Material in the package includes photographs, videos, quotes, and compelling questions. As a culminating activity, the students read three quotes statements by Reverend King that discuss his ideas of nonviolence and passive civil resistance, compare them to examples of contemporary protests, and consider the implications of Reverend King’s ideas for today.

Hobbs-Lorraine-Motel-Martin-Luther-King


Background: In early April of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was visiting Memphis, Tennessee to support a sanitation workers’ strike. He had faced mounting criticisms from young Blacks who thought his nonviolent attitude was doing their cause a disservice. It was because of these criticisms he had begun moving his support beyond blacks to all poor Americans and those who opposed the Vietnam War. While standing on a balcony the evening of April 4, a sniper shot and killed him. James Earl Ray was eventually arrested and convicted of the crime.

Martin Luther King Is Slain in Memphis; A White is Suspected; Johnson Urges Calm

By Early Caldwell, New York Times, April 5, 1968, p. 1

Memphis, Friday, April 5 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached nonviolence and racial brotherhood, was fatally shot here last night by a distant gunman who raced away and escaped. Four thousand National Guard troops were ordered into Memphis by Gov. Buford Ellington after the 39-year-old Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader died. A curfew was imposed on the shocked city of 550,000 inhabitants, 40 per cent of whom are Negro. But the police said the tragedy had been followed by incidents that included sporadic shooting, fires, bricks and bottles thrown at policemen, and looting that started in Negro districts and then spread over the city.

Police Director Frank Holloman said the assassin might have been a white man who was “50 to 100 yards away in a flophouse.” Chief of Detectives W.P. Huston said a late model white Mustang was believed to have been the killer’s getaway car. Its occupant was described as a bareheaded white man in his 30’s, wearing a black suit and black tie.

A high-powered 30.06-caliber rifle was found about a block from the scene of the shooting, on South Main Street. “We think it’s the gun,” Chief Huston said, reporting it would be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Dr. King was shot while he leaned over a second-floor railing outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. He was chatting with two friends just before starting for dinner. Paul Hess, assistant administrators at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where Dr. King died despite emergency surgery, said the minister had “received a gunshot wound of the right side of the neck, at the root of the neck, a gaping wound.” In a television broadcast after the curfew was ordered here, Mr. Holloman said, “rioting has broken out in parts of the city” and “looting is rampant.” Dr. King had come back to Memphis Wednesday morning to organize support once again for 1,300 sanitation workers who have been striking since Lincoln’s Birthday. Just a week ago yesterday he led a march in the strikers’ cause that ended in violence. A 16-year-old Negro was killed, 62 persons were injured and 200 were arrested.

Policemen were pouring into the motel area, carrying rifles and shotguns and wearing helmets. But the King aides said it seemed to be 10 or 15 minutes before a fire Department ambulance arrived. Dr. King was apparently still living when he reached the St. Joseph’s Hospital, operating room for emergency surgery. He was borne in on a stretcher, the bloody towel over his head. It was the same emergency room to which James H. Meredith, first Negro enrolled at the University of Mississippi, was taken after he was ambushed and shot in June 1965, at Hernando, Miss., a few miles south of Memphis; Mr. Meredith was not seriously hurt.

Questions:

  1. What does the New York Times report in the headline?
  2. How is Dr. King described in the article?
  3. In your opinion, why did cities declare curfews following Dr. King’s assassination?
  4. Why was Dr. King in Memphis?

President’s Plea, On TV, He Deplores “Brutal” Murder of Negro Leader

New York Times, April 5, 1968, p. 1

President Johnson deplored tonight in a brief television address to the nation the “brutal slaying” of the Re. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He asked “every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck Dr. King, who lived by nonviolence.” Mr. Johnson said he was postponing his scheduled departure tonight for a Honolulu conference on Vietnam and that instead he would leave tomorrow. The President spoke from the White House. At the Washington Hilton Hotel, where Democratic members of Congress had gathered to honor the President and Vice President, Mr. Humphrey, his voice strained with emotion, said: “Martin Luther King stands with other American martyrs in the cause of freedom and justice. His death is a terrible tragedy.”

Questions:

  1. How did President Johnson react to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.?
  2. Why did Vice President Humphrey describe Dr. King as one of the “American martyrs in the cause of freedom and justice”?

A Conversation with Dr. King

MLK
  1. Where do the ideas of non-violent civil disobedience come from?

“From the beginning a basic philosophy guided the (civil rights) movement. This guiding principle has since been referred to variously as non-violent resistance, non-cooperation, and passive resistance. But in the first days of protest none of these expressions were mentioned; the phrase most often heard was “Christian love.” . . . It was Jesus of Nazareth that stirred the Negroes to protest with the creative weapon of love. As the days unfolded, however, the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi (a leader in the struggle for independence in India) began to exert its influence. I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was of the most potent (powerful) weapons available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom.”

  1. When is civil disobedience necessary?

“There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging the fire truck goes right through that red light, and normal traffic had better get out of the way. Or, when a man is bleeding to death, the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed . . . Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full.”

  1. Why do you choose non-violent resistance over violence?

“To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system… Non-cooperation with evil is as much an obligation as is cooperation with good. Violence often brings about momentary results . . . But . . . It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.”

Questions:

  1. There was a wave of rioting in African American communities following the assassination of Dr. King. In your opinion, what would Dr. King have said to the rioters if he were alive?
  2. As you learn about the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. King, consider: Were the riots a legitimate response to King’s assassination?
  3. In your opinion, what has been the impact of the assassination of Dr. King and the riots that followed on American society?

Race Riots following the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 5-9, 1968)

Background: In the week following the death of Dr. King, riots broke out across the country. It is important to note that while Dr. King’s death may have sparked the riots, the long-standing history of racial tensions and conflicts had created an environment where violent protests were widely accepted in the wake of King’s assassination. President Johnson urged Americans to “reject the blind violence” that had killed King. Despite the President’s pleas, violence erupted and tens of thousands of National Guard, military and police officers were called on to quell the riots. By the end of the week, more than 21,000 were arrested and 2,600 injured, with 39 dead. With economic damages estimated to reach at least $65 million, entire areas and communities were destroyed. Of the 125 cities affected, Washington, Chicago and Baltimore were three that stand out amongst the rest.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TZ_5FmnSMs

Washington D.C.

Eyewitness to the Riot

Virginia Ali (a black woman who owned a restaurant with her husband in Washington): “I remember the sadness more than anything else. The radio stations were playing hymns, and people were coming in crying. People were out of control with anger and sadness and frustration. They broke into the liquor store across the street and were coming out with bottles of Courvoisier. They had no money, these youngsters. They were coming into the Chili Bowl saying, “Could you just give us a chili dog or a chili half smoke? We’ll give you this.”

George Pelecanos (an eleven-year-old black boy living in Washington): “The biggest mistake on the administrative side was not closing the schools and the government on Friday. Fourteenth Street had burned down, and officials thought it was over. But overnight, people all over the city had started talking about what was going to happen the next day. It got around by what they called the ghetto telegraph – the stoop, the barbershops, the telephones. Very early  in the morning, the teachers and school administrators started freaking out because the students were out of control – they just started to walk out. People realized: This isn’t over. It’s just beginning, and we have to get out of here.”

Questions:

  1. Describe the scenes shown in the video. Which scene is the most powerful? Why?
  2. How are the rioters portrayed in the video?
  3. How do the people interviewed remember the riot forty years later?
  4. According to Georg Pelecanos , what was the biggest mistake by authorities?
  5. In your opinion, does Ali’s quote provide a possible explanation for the riots?
  6. After examining the video, the quotes, and the photographs, which source do you think provides the most accurate representation of the riots? Why?

Baltimore, Maryland

Eyewitness to the Riot

Ruby Glover (a Jazz singer and administrator at Johns Hopkins Hospital) – “It looked like everything was on fire. It appeared that everything that we loved and adored and enjoyed was just being destroyed. It was just hideous.”

James  Bready (editorial writer for the Evening Sun) – “We drove along North Avenue, and I remember seeing kids running along from store to store with lighted torches to touch them off. But nobody ever tried to stop the car or interfere with us. I think black people felt release after generations of ‘You mustn’t do this, you mustn’t go there, you can’t say that or think that.’ Suddenly, the lid was off.”

Tommy D’Alesandro (mayor of Baltimore during the riots) – “There was hurt within the black community that they were not getting their fair share. We were coming from a very segregated city during the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s – and it was still a segregated atmosphere.”

Questions:

  1. How does Ruby Glover remember the riots?
  2. What is James Bready’s explanation for the riots?
  3. What is Tommy D’Alesandro’s explanation for the Baltimore riots?

Chicago, Illinois

Questions:

  1. What does Richard Barnett believe is a positive outcome of these events?
  2. What is the “ragged adolescent army” described by Ben Heineman?
  3. What does Mrs. Dorsey accuse the police of doing?
Trentonian

Trenton, New Jersey

Carmen Armenti (mayor of Trenton during the riots): “This was something that was simmering in black communities for a while before our disturbances. It was not an easy time to be a public official. They were not good economic times, and there was high unemployment among African-Americans and a multitude of other frustrations for black people. Keeping the lid on racial strife was the top political priority in those days.”

Tom Murphy (a young police officer in Trenton): “I’ll never forget that scene as long as I live. They were really whacking them at us. The golf balls were hitting guys and smashing car windshields. You had to dive for cover. They ran him [another police office] over with a truck. He was lucky it had those high wheels like the ones on the SUVs we have today. If it was a car it would have killed him, but he only got hit in the head with that ‘pumpkin’ for the axle in the back of the truck.”

Questions:

  1. Why does Mayor Armenti say “it was not a good time to be a public official”?
  2. How is Murphy’s account of the riots different from others we have read?
  3. How are events portrayed in The Trentonian?
John Lindsay

New York City and Buffalo, New York

Mayor John Lindsay: “It especially depends on the determination of the young men of this city to respect our laws and the teachings of the martyr, Martin Luther King. We can work together again for progress and peace in this city and this nation, for now I believe we are ready to scale the mountain from which Dr. King saw the promised land.”

Michele Martin (A young African American girl during the 1968 riot in conversation with her FDNY father): “Why is this happening?” “They killed King.” “Why is the supermarket on fire?” They’re mad.” “Why are they mad?” “Because they killed King.” “Why can’t we go out and play?” “There’s too much going on. Maybe when things calm down.”

David Garth (Mayoral press aide): “There was a mob so large it went across 125th Street from storefront to storefront. My life is over. He [Lindsay] had no written speech. No prepared remarks. He just held up his hand and said, ‘this is a terrible thing,’ He just calmed people, and then this gigantic wave stared marching down 125th Street, and somehow Lindsay was leading it.”

False Rumors Raise City’s Fears; Racial Unrest Exaggerated April 6, 1968, New York Times, pg. 1

Mayor, Quoting King, Urges Racial Peace Here; Lindsay Calls on Negroes in City to Follow Doctrine of Using Love to Fight Hate April 6, 1968, New York Times, pg. 26

VIOLENCE ERUPTS IN BUFFALO AREA; Looting and Fire Reported in Negro East Side  April 9, 1968, New York Times, pg. 36

Questions:

  1. Why did Mayor Lindsay walk the streets and discuss the “young men of the city”?
  2. In your opinion, why did Michele Martin’s father offer such simple answers?
  3. How did David Garth feel when he and the mayor faced the rioters?

Senator Robert Kennedy Speaks to the Nation

After the assassination of Reverend King, Senator Robert Kennedy interrupted his Presidential campaign to address the nation. An audio version of the speech is available on the website of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Source: https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/RFK-Speeches/Statement-on-the-Assassination-of-Martin-Luther-King.aspx

(A) I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

(B) Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love. For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times. My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

(C) What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

(D) But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Questions:

  1. What information does Senator Kennedy report”?
  2. In paragraph “B”, how does Kennedy suggest the country heal in this difficult time?
  3. According to Senator Kennedy, what did the United States need at this time?
  4. How did Senator Kennedy try to present a message of hope?

Teaching about Immigration

Alyssa Knipfing
Oceanwide High School, Oceanside, New York

Aim: Why did people immigrate to the United States? Why New York City?

Do Now: Read both passages, A & B, and answer the guiding questions to the right.

(A) Internal Immigrants: Quotas on foreign immigration unleashed a wave of internal migration between 1920 and 1965. The largest groups to move were from the U.S. south. Rural Southern blacks and whites migrated to northern and western cities seeking work in expanding factories. Many African Americans hoped to find increased freedom away from the racially segregated south. This migration created new African American communities in New York City in Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant. Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans came to the mainland seeking work in record numbers during these years. Because Puerto Rico was a U.S. colony, Puerto Ricans were not restricted by immigration quotas.

(B) Newest Immigrants: In 1965, the United States revised its immigration laws, making it possible for millions of new immigrants to enter the country. The newest immigrants to the United States, Brooklyn, and East New York, include tens of thousands of people from the Caribbean, South and Central America, West Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. These people seek work and economic, political, and religious freedom. Despite hostility that has often greeted them, many have decided to put down roots and become United States citizens.

Questions: According to Passage A, What caused the creation of new African American communities in New York City?According to Passage B, What regions did immigrants come from in the 1960s?In your opinion, do you think the benefits of living in American society outweighed the harsh realities of daily discrimination?  

The picture above is a neighborhood street in Bedford Stuyvesant (Source:https://people.hofstra.edu/alan_j_singer/294%20Course%20Pack/6.%20Immigration/115.pdf)

Directions: Read the following passages about the historical background of immigration with your groups. Answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebooks.

(C) New Arrivals: From 1840 until 1880, new European groups migrated to the United States. The Irish fled starvation and persecution by the British. In the United States they became factory workers and helped build the canals, railroads, and the labor movement. Scandinavians were farming people who largely settled in the midwest. The Germans migrated in large numbers because of war and failed revolutions. Many Germans were skilled workers and they settled in new cities. During this period there were so many German immigrants that Chicago schools taught students in German. People of German decent remain the largest ethnic group in the United States today. During this period large numbers of Chinese also migrated to the United States. They settled on the west coast where they helped to build the railroads. When the economy was strong, these new people were generally accepted. However, economic hard times brought strong anti-immigrant feelings including the spread of racist ideas. Immigrant workers were attacked, their unions were broken, and laws were passed to keep out new immigrants. In 1882 the first exclusion laws banned immigrants from China and other “undesirables.” In 1908, the United States also blocked immigration from Japan.


The map above shows the immense decrease in population in Ireland during the Irish potato famine that caused mass starvation

(source: https://people.hofstra.edu/alan_j_singer/294%20Course%20Pack/6.%20Immigration/115.pdf)

Questions for Passage C: Why did the Irish flee their homeland? What kind of work did the immigrants do in U.S.? Why did the Germans flee their homeland? How were the Irish and German immigrants treated?In your opinion, why do you think American citizens treated the immigrants so harshly? Explain.

(D) Ellis Island: Between 1880 and 1921 millions of new immigrants poured into the United States from Eastern and Southern Europe and from Mexico. They included Slavic people like Russians, Poles, and Ukrainians, Mediterranean groups like Italians, Sicilians, Greeks, Turks and Armenians, and religious groups like the Eastern European Jews. Most of these new immigrants arrived by boat in New York City through Ellis Island. They were poor people who traveled in “steerage,” along with their luggage in the hold of large steamships. Most of the new arrivals from Europe settled in Eastern coast and midwestern cities where they lived in overcrowded slums and unhealthy and unsafe tenement housing. Many did dangerous work in mines, mills, and factories. In New York City, immigrants dug the subway tunnels and water aqueducts, built the skyscrapers and bridges, and developed the garment industry. Conditions were so difficult that almost 50% of the Italians and Sicilians and over 30% of the Slavs who came to the United States eventually returned home. Many immigrants were union leaders and political activists who tried to improve conditions for poor people and workers. Mother Jones and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn were Irish. Joe Hill was Swedish. Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian. Sam Gompers, Sidney Hillman, and David Dubinsky were Jews. By 1919, anti-immigrant sentiment was growing in the United States again. Southern and Eastern European immigrants were branded as radicals and undesirables who could never become truly American. In 1921 and 1924 quota laws were passed to effectively stop immigration from these areas.   Source:https://people.hofstra.edu/alan_j_singer/294%20Course%20Pack/6.%20Immigration/115.pdf 


The picture above is showing immigrants arriving to Ellis Island

The picture above is showing immigrants being processed.

Questions for Passage D:

Where did the millions of new immigrants come from? How and where did they arrive to the United States? What kind of jobs did the immigrants have in New York City? In your opinion, why do you think those jobs were given to the immigrants?In your opinion, why do you think anti-immigrant sentiment was growing in the United States?

(E) Directions: Examine the map below and answer the “Geography Skillbuilder – Interpreting Maps” questions in your SS notebooks.

Aim: How did the Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act) affect immigration into the United States?  How did it affect immigration into New York state?

Do Now: Read the historical background and answer the guiding questions in your notebooks.

Historical Background: “The Immigration Act of 1924 made the principle of national origin quotas the permanent basis for U.S. immigration policy. The Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, restricted the number of immigrants from a given country to 2% of the number of residents from that same country living in the United States. The percentage quotas were strongly biased towards to the “Old Immigrants” from North-Western Europe as opposed to the “New Immigrants” from South-Eastern Europe. The Immigration Act of 1924 shut the ‘Golden Door’ to America and 87% of immigration permits (visas) went to immigrants from Britain, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia. The law completely excluded immigrants from Asia. Calvin Coolidge was the 30th American President who served in office from August 2, 1923 to March 4, 1929. One of the important events during his presidency was the Immigration Act of 1924.”

Source: http://www.american-historama.org/1913-1928-ww1-prohibition-era/immigration-act-of-1924.htm

Directions: With your shoulder partners, read and examine the following boxes about the legislation’s causes and effects. Discuss the importance of the act and how it impacted immigration from foreign lands into the United States. Then, write a brief paragraph about the concept of justice in regards to both of the parties involved: Was the act fair to American citizens? Was the act fair to immigrants? Was the United States justified in their decision to pass this act limiting and restricting immigration from certain lands? Explain your thoughts to the aforementioned questions by using supporting evidence from the surrounding boxes.

Questions:

  1. What was the Immigration Act of 1924?
  2. Why was the Immigration Act of 1924 passed?
  3. What was an important effect of the legislation?
  4. In your opinion, do you think President Calvin Coolidge’s support for this legislation helped or hurt the United States? Explain your opinion with evidence from the passage.

Reasons Why the Immigration Act of 1924 Was Passed:

  • Immigration levels between 1900-1920 had soared, reaching over 14 million new immigrants into America
  • The Dillingham Commission Report had inflamed racial prejudice towards immigrants from South-Eastern Europe creating discrimination between Old and New Immigrants
  • The Eugenics Movement, the pseudo-science supported by highly prominent and influential people, fueled anti-immigrant and racist beliefs in America
  • The 1919 recession and high unemployment had led to strikes, violence and riots that prompted the Red Scare in America
  • Nativism and xenophobia in America led to a wave of anti-immigration hysteria that swept the country – the government became under enormous pressure to restrict immigration

Why was the Immigration Act of 1924 important?

→ Consolidates US laws Restricting Immigration
The Immigration Act of 1924 consolidated the principles of the following acts and made them permanent features of US law to restrict Immigration:

● The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act 
● The Immigration Act of 1907
● The Immigration Act of 1917 (Asiatic Barred Zone)
● The 1921 Emergency Quota Act
● The National Origins Act of 1924

Assignment: Based upon the data shown in the table above, describe what happened to the New York City population from 1900 to 1930. Make sure to describe the trends before the Immigration Act of 1924 was passed and what happened to the demographics in New York after it passed. Explain in about 150 words what was happening using data to support your claims. Record your response in your social studies notebook.

Directions: Read the passage below and examine the data table to the right with your partners. Then, answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebooks.

Who Was Shut Out? Immigration Quotas, 1925-1927

In response to growing public opinion against the flow of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the years following World War I, Congress passed first the Quota Act of 1921 then the even more restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act). Initially, the 1924 law imposed a total quota on immigration of 165,000—less than 20 percent of the pre-World War I average. It based ceilings on the number of immigrants from any particular nation on the percentage of each nationality recorded in the 1890 census—a blatant effort to limit immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, which mostly occurred after that date. In the first decade of the 20th century, an average of 200,000 Italians had entered the United States each year. With the 1924 Act, the annual quota for Italians was set at less than 4,000. This table shows the annual immigration quotas under the 1924 Immigration Act. Source: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5078

Aim: How did the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act) affect immigration into the United States?

Do Now: Read the following passages and answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebook.

Passage A: The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, for the first time in American history, accepted immigrants of all nationalities on a roughly equal basis. The law eliminated the use of national-origin quotas, under which the overwhelming majority of immigrant visas were set aside for people coming from northern and western Europe.

Passage B: The pattern of U.S. immigration changed dramatically. The share of the U.S. population born outside the country tripled and became far more diverse. Seven out of every eight immigrants in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world. The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. No law passed in the 20th century altered the country’s demographic character quite so thoroughly.

Questions:

  1. According to Passage A, What was the main goal of the new legislation in 1965?
  2. According to Passage B, What was the ratio of immigrants from Europe in the 1960s?
  3. In your opinion, what are the major differences between the Immigration Act of 1924 we studied earlier and this piece of immigration legislation?

President Lyndon B. Johnson sits at his desk on Liberty Island in New York Harbor as he signs a new immigration bill, October 1965.

Source:https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/immigration-act-1965/408409/

Directions: Examine the following sources with your groups and answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebooks.

Questions: How many immigrants (in millions) consisted of the U.S. population in 1960?Why did immigration into the U.S. increase from 1970 to 1990?In your opinion, why do you think the Census Bureau projects a steady increase of immigrants until the year 2060?

DOC #1 Source: https://cis.org/Report/HartCeller-Immigration-Act-1965

DOC #3 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Americans#/media/File:Chinese_Population_USA.jpg

Percentage of Chinese population in the United States, 2000:

Questions: According to the map, Which American states have the greatest Chinese populations? Which have the smallest Chinese populations?Which major American cities are well-renowned for their Chinese populations? How do you know? [Hint: think of America’s many “Chinatowns”]. In your opinion, What do you think this map will look like in the next fifty years? Explain your thoughts.

DOC #4 Source: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/28/chapter-5-u-s-foreign-born-population-trends/

U.S. Foreign-Born Population Trends: Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065 – SHIFT IN ORIGINS

In 1960, 8.2 million immigrants from Europe and Canada were living in the U.S. By 2013, that number had fallen to 5.9 million. Over the same period, the number of immigrants who were born in South or East Asia increased almost thirtyfold, from about 400,000 in 1960 to 10.7 million in 2013. Immigrants from Mexico are not far behind, with about 20 times as many Mexican immigrants in 2013 (11.6 million) as there were in 1960 (600,000).

Questions: According to the pie-graph, Where in the world were immigrants predominantly coming from in 1960? Percentage? What are the four major regions where immigrants came from in the year 2013? Percentages? In your opinion, what do you think this pie-graph will look like in the next fifty years? Explain your thoughts

DOC #5 Source: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/28/chapter-5-u-s-foreign-born-population-trends/

U.S. Foreign-Born Population Trends: Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065 – TOP COUNTRIES OF BIRTH

Looking at the top countries of origin among immigrants in the U.S. by state, there is a shift from 1960 to 2013. In 1960, while Mexico was the biggest country of origin in the border states (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas), Canada and European countries such as Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom dominated the rest of the country. In 2013, Mexico was the top country of origin in 33 states, encompassing most of the West, South and Midwest. Immigrants in the remaining states have diverse origins, including the Caribbean, Central America, Canada, South and East Asia and Africa.

Questions:

  • According to the data table above, from rank #1 to rank #3, Which countries were the top birthplaces of immigrants in:
    • 1960?
    • 1990?
    • 2013?
    • What type of United States legislation do you think was responsible for the change in birthplace origins of immigrants into the United States? Explain why.
    • In your opinion, Which country/countries do you think will be the most popular place immigrants will come from in 2050? Explain your thoughts.

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