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Social History for Every Classroom

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Progressive Era Activists Call for Trade Unions (with text supports)

Founded in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was an organization that brought together working-class women, reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. The WTUL believed that the best way to help women workers was to help [...]

The Brooklyn Consumers' League Takes on Sweatshops (short version, with text supports)

During the Progressive era, some women believed they could improve conditions for workers through their power as consumers—how they decided what products to buy, and from which stores. At both the local and national levels, women organized [...]

Seal of the National Women’s Trade Union League

Founded in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was an organization that brought together working-class women, reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. League members believed that working women needed help to gain better [...]

Active Viewing: Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl Vocabulary

These words and phases from the Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl documentary may be unfamiliar to students.

Progressive Era Activists Call for Trade Unions Language Analysis Worksheet

This worksheet helps students to identify and understand the meaning of "loaded language" in a statement from the Women's Trade Union League.

A Reformer Describes Child Labor in the Coal Mines

John Spargo's The Bitter Cry of Children, published in 1906, was among the most influential and widely read accounts of child labor written during the Progressive era. Spargo described work at the coal breaker, the area outside the mine where coal [...]

Jacob Riis Describes "The Street Arab"

In this excerpt from How the Other Half Lives, his famous 1890 book about urban poverty, Jacob Riis describes the army of young newsboys and bootblacks who worked and lived in Manhattan's streets. Later in the book, Riis praises the work of the [...]

Background Essay on Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl

This essay explains the significance of young female immigrants in the labor upheavals that helped define the Progressive Era.

Active Viewing: Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl

In this activity, students watch the documentary Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl in sections, with documents and exercises designed to support and reinforce the film's key concepts: workers challenging the effects of industrial capitalism, the [...]

"Tenement, New York City, 1910"

This photograph by Lewis Hine was taken in a New York City tenement in 1910. Hine was a documentary photographer who frequently turned his lens to the plight of immigrants, workers, and the poor. This family group, perhaps among the approximately [...]


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