American Social History Project/Center for Media & Learning, CUNY

American Social History Project/Center for Media & Learning, CUNY Bringing the history of ordinary people into the classroom We are dedicated to renewing interest in history by challenging traditional ways that people learn about the past.

Based at the City University of New York Graduate Center, we produce print, visual, and multimedia materials that explore the richly diverse social and cultural history of the United States. We also lead professional development seminars that help teachers to use the latest scholarship, technology, and active learning methods in their classrooms.

Operating as usual

On June 28, 1970, LGBTQ+ activists in New York organized Christopher Street Liberation Day, commemorating the resistance...
06/22/2021
Teaching and Learning LGBTQ+ History of the United States | ASHP/CML

On June 28, 1970, LGBTQ+ activists in New York organized Christopher Street Liberation Day, commemorating the resistance of q***r and trans people after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn a year earlier. For the past fifty years, LGBTQ+ people have continued this tradition. At Pride parades and other activities, they have gathered to make their presence visible, to protest injustices and express demands for political and legal change, to revel in a sense of community, and to challenge forces that have sought to ignore, silence, or oppress them.

This year, Pride Month is tempered by a wave of local and state attempts -- many successful -- to roll back hard-won gains that affect the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. Numerous states have proposed or passed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, amounting to government-sanctioned acts of censorship in K-12 public schools in order to deny LGBTQ+ people’s historical agency and contributions.

Not only do we think LGBTQ+ history should be taught, we don’t think it should be relegated to June only! To that end, we have assembled a selective list of resources for educators, students, and others looking for sources for teaching and learning about a variety of topics related to LGBTQ+ experiences in the past. Link below!

https://ashp.cuny.edu/teaching-and-learning-lgbtq-history-united-states

On June 28, 1970, LGBTQ+ activists in New York organized Christopher Street Liberation Day, commemorating the resistance of q***r and trans people after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn a year earlier. For the past fifty years, LGBTQ+ people have continued this tradition. At Pride parades and othe...

Excited to have our award-winning documentary about the Great Uprising of 1877 featured in this year's Workers Unite! Fi...
05/05/2021
1877: The Grand Army of Starvation | Haymarket: The Bomb, The Anarchists, The Labor Struggle and Short | Workers Unite Film Festival 2021

Excited to have our award-winning documentary about the Great Uprising of 1877 featured in this year's Workers Unite! Film Festival!

Narrated by the great James Earl Jones, the documentary follows the nationwide rebellion of eighty thousand railroad workers, joined by hundreds of thousands of Americans outraged by the excesses of the railroad companies and the misery of a four-year economic depression. Police, state militia, and federal troops clashed with strikers and sympathizers, leaving more than one hundred dead and thousands injured.

The film is available to stream for free from May 7 to May 12, available here: https://watch.eventive.org/workersunitefilmfest2021/play/6075b5b2ea0517007104100d.

A nationwide rebellion brought the U.S. to a standstill in 1877 as 80,000 railroad workers walked out on strike and clashed with police and state militia.

This just in—a new newsletter from ASHP/CML! Click below to read what we've been up to these past months. Some highlight...
02/01/2021
February 2021 Newsletter from ASHP/CML

This just in—a new newsletter from ASHP/CML! Click below to read what we've been up to these past months.

Some highlights: we received funding from Humanities New York and the Metropolitan Library Council of New York to develop a podcast series and cultivate the CUNY Digital History Archive, we continue our work with the NYC Department of Education in creating online resources for history teachers, and we seek applicants for our upcoming National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on the Visual Culture of the American Civil War.

And please, be sure to subscribe!

We are pleased to announce that Humanities New York has awarded ASHP/CML a grant of $5,000 for Spaces, Places, and Faces: Exploring Q***r Public History. The grant will be used to research and develop a podcast series that looks at how the work of historians, activists, educators, and archivists...

Today's inauguration marks a new chapter in American history, yet the recent attempted insurrection in Washington, DC on...
01/20/2021

Today's inauguration marks a new chapter in American history, yet the recent attempted insurrection in Washington, DC on January 6 loom large.

In recent days, we have developed a list of teaching resources and reflection questions to contextualize those violent events and connect them to broader themes and moments in US History, available here: ashpc.ml/cxw2b8.

The events of January 6 were exceptional, but they are connected to a long history of attempts to prevent the exercise of voting rights, particularly among African Americans and other people of color.

It will take years to fully understand exactly what happened and the impact of these events, but we hope the teaching materials that we have compiled offer a variety of ways to contextualize and understand the siege at the Capitol, including key definitions and concepts, the history of voter suppression and impeachment, the use of mob violence to block democratic processes and to assert white supremacy, and Washington, DC’s history as a site of violent protest. Link: ashpc.ml/cxw2b8.

Today's inauguration marks a new chapter in American history, yet the recent attempted insurrection in Washington, DC on January 6 loom large.

In recent days, we have developed a list of teaching resources and reflection questions to contextualize those violent events and connect them to broader themes and moments in US History, available here: ashpc.ml/cxw2b8.

The events of January 6 were exceptional, but they are connected to a long history of attempts to prevent the exercise of voting rights, particularly among African Americans and other people of color.

It will take years to fully understand exactly what happened and the impact of these events, but we hope the teaching materials that we have compiled offer a variety of ways to contextualize and understand the siege at the Capitol, including key definitions and concepts, the history of voter suppression and impeachment, the use of mob violence to block democratic processes and to assert white supremacy, and Washington, DC’s history as a site of violent protest. Link: ashpc.ml/cxw2b8.

Every election is consequential and determining who has the right to vote has been a struggle since the founding of the ...
10/15/2020
Understanding Elections in U.S. History | ASHP/CML

Every election is consequential and determining who has the right to vote has been a struggle since the founding of the nation. Over the course of U.S. history, the stakes of some elections have been higher than others, especially in times of a national political, social, economic, or health crisis. Elections can also indicate the vitality of democracy itself, testing the structures of government as well as the public’s embrace of democratic principles. For those wanting to better understand this history, we have gathered a number of documents and teaching resources related to elections in the United States.

Some of the collected materials describe the efforts of men and women to expand voting rights in order to realize the nation’s ideals of freedom and democracy, for example, the campaign to win women’s suffrage. The movement to secure voting rights for African American and Mexican American residents showed the bravery, tenacity and patriotism of activists. All of these voting rights campaigns also reveal persistent efforts to constrict the electorate in order to maintain white supremacy and keep political power in the hands of those with race and economic privilege.

Other materials focus specifically on past elections, highlighting moments when the media and political campaigns developed new ways to persuade voters or to forecast election outcomes.

Finally, given the contentious 2020 Supreme Court confirmation process, a section addresses the issue of Supreme Court nominations and how the composition of the Court became politicized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in an attempt to advance the New Deal. At the bottom of the page, we share links to other digital archives and resources that examine these, and many other issues, in more depth.

Follow the link for more: http://ashpc.ml/8h4f6v

Every election is consequential and determining who has the right to vote has been a struggle since the founding of the nation. Over the course of U.S. history, the stakes of some elections have been higher than others, especially in times of a national political, social, economic, or health crisis....

Interested in graphic novels, Indigenous history, and decolonization of the Colonial U.S. past? Join Weshoyot Alvitre, L...
09/28/2020
Ghost River: Decolonization through Artistic Reinterpretation

Interested in graphic novels, Indigenous history, and decolonization of the Colonial U.S. past?

Join Weshoyot Alvitre, Lee Francis IV, and Will Fenton as they discuss "Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga" (Red Planet Books & Comics), a graphic novel that tells the story of Indigenous victims, survivors, and kin of the Paxton massacres in 1763.

Their conversation will explore how artistic reinterpretation of colonial records enabled the team to create imagine a narrative that re-centers the Indigenous past and present in studies of colonial America. Free and open to all, RSVP here: https://publicslab.gc.cuny.edu/events/ghost-river-decolonization-through-artistic-reinterpretation/.

Hosted by the Publics Lab at the The Graduate Center, CUNY, co-sponsored by ASHP/CML.

Co-sponsored by the American Social History Project. Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga (Red Planet Books and Comics, 2019) is a graphic novel about the Paxton massacres of 1763. Howev…

Today, take a moment to reflect on the harrowing events of September 11th, 2001 with the 9/11 Digital Archive (http://as...
09/11/2020
Home · September 11 Digital Archive

Today, take a moment to reflect on the harrowing events of September 11th, 2001 with the 9/11 Digital Archive (http://ashpc.ml/bkp97v).

The digital archive, linked above and below, contains the voices of everyday people from NYC and around the country. There are interviews, photographs, fliers, art, e-mails, and more that document how people and organizations made sense of, and responded to, the day and its aftermath.

The archive was organized by ASHP and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and has since been accepted into the The Library of Congress, assuring its long-term preservation.

57 years ago today, hundreds of thousands protestors joined the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. They demanded ...
08/28/2020

57 years ago today, hundreds of thousands protestors joined the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. They demanded human rights and anti-poverty measures for Black Americans, a poignant reminder about how far there is to go in ensuring equal treatment and opportunity for all.

Crucially, the 1963 March was a product of decades of activism and built upon the March on Washington Movement (MOWM). In a 1941 pamphlet for the MOWM, Black labor leader A. Philip Randolph called for a "an all-out thundering march on Washington, ending in a monster and huge demonstration at Lincoln's Monument will shake up white America," and that "nothing counts but pressure, more pressure, and still more pressure."

For more teaching materials and documents on the two marches, follow this link: http://ashpc.ml/mv7sp2

From our home offices in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, the staff of ASHP have watched the protests following ...
06/11/2020
Historicizing Black Resistance in the U.S. | ASHP/CML

From our home offices in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, the staff of ASHP have watched the protests following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, with outrage and sorrow, as well as admiration at the determination of tens of thousands calling for justice and change. At times, we have joined the protests and supported them in other ways. As educators and scholars, we recognize the power of history to provide an understanding of the past that can help transform our present lives and shape our future.

For that purpose, we want to share with you some resources (https://ashp.cuny.edu/historicizing-black-resistance-us) that we have compiled for those who want to better understand the history of both black oppression and black resistance that make up the U.S. story. This very selective compilation highlights materials drawn from our own collections, plus links to other freely accessible documents, collections, lesson plans, and items suitable for students, teachers, researchers, public historians, and the interested public. We hope you will share this site widely, and check back as we plan to update and expand the collection.

#BlackLivesMatter

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the sustained protests across the U.S. that have followed have taken many Americans by surprise. For others -- especially those who are black, indigenous, and people of color -- these tragic deaths at the hands of police (or....

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and as we reach the end of the month, it's a good time for so...
05/26/2020

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and as we reach the end of the month, it's a good time for some historical reflection!

First, probe the social, political, and cultural impetuses and implications of the Philippine War, with ASHP's "Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs, and Empire 1898-1904." Our documentary is available to stream and download for free: http://ashpc.ml/kpq47y

Then, delve into the many documents collected on HERB, our free, online database of primary sources and classroom activities. In this doc, Mexican laborers in Oxnard, California stand with their Japanese "brothers" when facing discrimination from the American Federation of Labor: http://ashpc.ml/6y4wpn

Finally, explore different voices from NYC's Chinatown neighborhood as residents reflect on 9/11. Located just ten blocks from Ground Zero, Chinatown was the largest residential area affected by the attacks. Read the recollections of neighbors who discuss the day's effect on their air quality and health, their civic and social engagement, and more: http://ashpc.ml/65zpx7

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and as we reach the end of the month, it's a good time for some historical reflection!

First, probe the social, political, and cultural impetuses and implications of the Philippine War, with ASHP's "Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs, and Empire 1898-1904." Our documentary is available to stream and download for free: http://ashpc.ml/kpq47y

Then, delve into the many documents collected on HERB, our free, online database of primary sources and classroom activities. In this doc, Mexican laborers in Oxnard, California stand with their Japanese "brothers" when facing discrimination from the American Federation of Labor: http://ashpc.ml/6y4wpn

Finally, explore different voices from NYC's Chinatown neighborhood as residents reflect on 9/11. Located just ten blocks from Ground Zero, Chinatown was the largest residential area affected by the attacks. Read the recollections of neighbors who discuss the day's effect on their air quality and health, their civic and social engagement, and more: http://ashpc.ml/65zpx7

Today is Workers' Memorial Day, when we honor workers who have died or been injured while on the job. It is particularly...
04/28/2020

Today is Workers' Memorial Day, when we honor workers who have died or been injured while on the job. It is particularly salient this year, amidst a global health crisis that places so many—nurses, delivery people, grocery store clerks, sanitation workers—at risk.

Reflect on the power of organized labor to ensure safe and fair working conditions, today and every day!

Photo: An outdoor S**U meeting, 1937, by Louise Boyle. Courtesy of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives in the ILR School at Cornell University.

Today is Workers' Memorial Day, when we honor workers who have died or been injured while on the job. It is particularly salient this year, amidst a global health crisis that places so many—nurses, delivery people, grocery store clerks, sanitation workers—at risk.

Reflect on the power of organized labor to ensure safe and fair working conditions, today and every day!

Photo: An outdoor S**U meeting, 1937, by Louise Boyle. Courtesy of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives in the ILR School at Cornell University.

While the The Graduate Center, CUNY is closed due to COVID-19, ASHP staff are fortunate to be able to work from home. So...
04/15/2020

While the The Graduate Center, CUNY is closed due to COVID-19, ASHP staff are fortunate to be able to work from home. So the writing, designing, and programming continues on "Who Built America? Open Educational Resource," as does the production of Mission US 6 and 7. We are also helping develop LGBTQ+ teaching materials for the NYC Department of Education, and continue to assist student work at the New Media Lab.

For more info on what we've been up to, and for a primer on all of our publicly available resources for teaching and learning, read (and subscribe to!) our newsletter: ashpc.ml/cxh3nt.

Photo: Mexican laborers in Imperial Valley, California. By Dorothea Lange, June 1935, courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

While the The Graduate Center, CUNY is closed due to COVID-19, ASHP staff are fortunate to be able to work from home. So the writing, designing, and programming continues on "Who Built America? Open Educational Resource," as does the production of Mission US 6 and 7. We are also helping develop LGBTQ+ teaching materials for the NYC Department of Education, and continue to assist student work at the New Media Lab.

For more info on what we've been up to, and for a primer on all of our publicly available resources for teaching and learning, read (and subscribe to!) our newsletter: ashpc.ml/cxh3nt.

Photo: Mexican laborers in Imperial Valley, California. By Dorothea Lange, June 1935, courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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On June 28, 1970, LGBTQ+ activists in New York organized Christopher Street Liberation Day, commemorating the resistance of q***r and trans people after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn a year earlier. For the past fifty years, LGBTQ+ people have continued this tradition. At Pride parades and other activities, they have gathered to make their presence visible, to protest injustices and express demands for political and legal change, to revel in a sense of community, and to challenge forces that have sought to ignore, silence, or oppress them. This year, Pride Month is tempered by a wave of local and state attempts -- many successful -- to roll back hard-won gains that affect the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. Numerous states have proposed or passed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, amounting to government-sanctioned acts of censorship in K-12 public schools in order to deny LGBTQ+ people’s historical agency and contributions. Not only do we think LGBTQ+ history should be taught, we don’t think it should be relegated to June only! To that end, we have assembled a selective list of resources for educators, students, and others looking for sources for teaching and learning about a variety of topics related to LGBTQ+ experiences in the past. Link below! https://ashp.cuny.edu/teaching-and-learning-lgbtq-history-united-states
Excited to have our award-winning documentary about the Great Uprising of 1877 featured in this year's Workers Unite! Film Festival! Narrated by the great James Earl Jones, the documentary follows the nationwide rebellion of eighty thousand railroad workers, joined by hundreds of thousands of Americans outraged by the excesses of the railroad companies and the misery of a four-year economic depression. Police, state militia, and federal troops clashed with strikers and sympathizers, leaving more than one hundred dead and thousands injured. The film is available to stream for free from May 7 to May 12, available here: https://watch.eventive.org/workersunitefilmfest2021/play/6075b5b2ea0517007104100d.
This just in—a new newsletter from ASHP/CML! Click below to read what we've been up to these past months. Some highlights: we received funding from Humanities New York and the Metropolitan Library Council of New York to develop a podcast series and cultivate the CUNY Digital History Archive, we continue our work with the NYC Department of Education in creating online resources for history teachers, and we seek applicants for our upcoming National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on the Visual Culture of the American Civil War. And please, be sure to subscribe!
Today's inauguration marks a new chapter in American history, yet the recent attempted insurrection in Washington, DC on January 6 loom large. In recent days, we have developed a list of teaching resources and reflection questions to contextualize those violent events and connect them to broader themes and moments in US History, available here: ashpc.ml/cxw2b8. The events of January 6 were exceptional, but they are connected to a long history of attempts to prevent the exercise of voting rights, particularly among African Americans and other people of color. It will take years to fully understand exactly what happened and the impact of these events, but we hope the teaching materials that we have compiled offer a variety of ways to contextualize and understand the siege at the Capitol, including key definitions and concepts, the history of voter suppression and impeachment, the use of mob violence to block democratic processes and to assert white supremacy, and Washington, DC’s history as a site of violent protest. Link: ashpc.ml/cxw2b8.
Every election is consequential and determining who has the right to vote has been a struggle since the founding of the nation. Over the course of U.S. history, the stakes of some elections have been higher than others, especially in times of a national political, social, economic, or health crisis. Elections can also indicate the vitality of democracy itself, testing the structures of government as well as the public’s embrace of democratic principles. For those wanting to better understand this history, we have gathered a number of documents and teaching resources related to elections in the United States. Some of the collected materials describe the efforts of men and women to expand voting rights in order to realize the nation’s ideals of freedom and democracy, for example, the campaign to win women’s suffrage. The movement to secure voting rights for African American and Mexican American residents showed the bravery, tenacity and patriotism of activists. All of these voting rights campaigns also reveal persistent efforts to constrict the electorate in order to maintain white supremacy and keep political power in the hands of those with race and economic privilege. Other materials focus specifically on past elections, highlighting moments when the media and political campaigns developed new ways to persuade voters or to forecast election outcomes. Finally, given the contentious 2020 Supreme Court confirmation process, a section addresses the issue of Supreme Court nominations and how the composition of the Court became politicized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in an attempt to advance the New Deal. At the bottom of the page, we share links to other digital archives and resources that examine these, and many other issues, in more depth. Follow the link for more: http://ashpc.ml/8h4f6v
Interested in graphic novels, Indigenous history, and decolonization of the Colonial U.S. past? Join Weshoyot Alvitre, Lee Francis IV, and Will Fenton as they discuss "Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga" (Red Planet Books & Comics), a graphic novel that tells the story of Indigenous victims, survivors, and kin of the Paxton massacres in 1763. Their conversation will explore how artistic reinterpretation of colonial records enabled the team to create imagine a narrative that re-centers the Indigenous past and present in studies of colonial America. Free and open to all, RSVP here: https://publicslab.gc.cuny.edu/events/ghost-river-decolonization-through-artistic-reinterpretation/. Hosted by the Publics Lab at the The Graduate Center, CUNY, co-sponsored by ASHP/CML.
Today, take a moment to reflect on the harrowing events of September 11th, 2001 with the 9/11 Digital Archive (http://ashpc.ml/bkp97v). The digital archive, linked above and below, contains the voices of everyday people from NYC and around the country. There are interviews, photographs, fliers, art, e-mails, and more that document how people and organizations made sense of, and responded to, the day and its aftermath. The archive was organized by ASHP and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and has since been accepted into the The Library of Congress, assuring its long-term preservation.
57 years ago today, hundreds of thousands protestors joined the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. They demanded human rights and anti-poverty measures for Black Americans, a poignant reminder about how far there is to go in ensuring equal treatment and opportunity for all. Crucially, the 1963 March was a product of decades of activism and built upon the March on Washington Movement (MOWM). In a 1941 pamphlet for the MOWM, Black labor leader A. Philip Randolph called for a "an all-out thundering march on Washington, ending in a monster and huge demonstration at Lincoln's Monument will shake up white America," and that "nothing counts but pressure, more pressure, and still more pressure." For more teaching materials and documents on the two marches, follow this link: http://ashpc.ml/mv7sp2
From our home offices in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, the staff of ASHP have watched the protests following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, with outrage and sorrow, as well as admiration at the determination of tens of thousands calling for justice and change. At times, we have joined the protests and supported them in other ways. As educators and scholars, we recognize the power of history to provide an understanding of the past that can help transform our present lives and shape our future. For that purpose, we want to share with you some resources (https://ashp.cuny.edu/historicizing-black-resistance-us) that we have compiled for those who want to better understand the history of both black oppression and black resistance that make up the U.S. story. This very selective compilation highlights materials drawn from our own collections, plus links to other freely accessible documents, collections, lesson plans, and items suitable for students, teachers, researchers, public historians, and the interested public. We hope you will share this site widely, and check back as we plan to update and expand the collection. #BlackLivesMatter
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and as we reach the end of the month, it's a good time for some historical reflection! First, probe the social, political, and cultural impetuses and implications of the Philippine War, with ASHP's "Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs, and Empire 1898-1904." Our documentary is available to stream and download for free: http://ashpc.ml/kpq47y Then, delve into the many documents collected on HERB, our free, online database of primary sources and classroom activities. In this doc, Mexican laborers in Oxnard, California stand with their Japanese "brothers" when facing discrimination from the American Federation of Labor: http://ashpc.ml/6y4wpn Finally, explore different voices from NYC's Chinatown neighborhood as residents reflect on 9/11. Located just ten blocks from Ground Zero, Chinatown was the largest residential area affected by the attacks. Read the recollections of neighbors who discuss the day's effect on their air quality and health, their civic and social engagement, and more: http://ashpc.ml/65zpx7