Jim Carnes, Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America (Oxford University
A great companion to Race: A History Beyond Black and White, this book comprises 14 case studies that “bring readers a firsthand, personal account of the history and psychology of intolerance.” Colorful, contains lots of great images and primary source excerpts. The case studies are broad, beginning with the persecution of Quakers in the 17th century and examining the experiences of blacks, Mexicans, Native Americans, Japanese Americans, and gay people, among others.
Sally G. McMillen, Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women’s Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2008). A recent, excellent overview that emphasizes the contributions of Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, while placing the Seneca Falls convention and the broader movement in the context of the times.
The fight for women’s suffrage in Vermont, 1869-1880
See Sherman, et al., Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont (Vermont Historical Society,
Deborah P. Clifford, “An Invasion of Strong-Minded Women: The Newspapers and the Woman Suffrage Campaign in Vermont in 1870,” Vermont History 43(Winter 1975); “The Drive for Women’s Municipal Suffrage in Vermont, 1883-1917,” Vermont History 47(Summer 1979).
The African-American Experience
In the North
James O. and Lois E. Horton, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860 (Oxford University Press, 1998).
This book examines both the lives of northern free blacks in a largely hostile society, as well as their contributions to the antislavery movement.
Richard Wright, Black Boy (American Hunger) (1945).
Wright’s memoir of his youth, adolescence, and early adulthood is brilliant, stunning, and beautiful. In Part Two of the fully restored edition, “The Horror and the Glory,” after fleeing the Jim Crow South and seeking true freedom up North, Wright encounters racism and oppression in Chicago.
Linda Barrett Osborne, Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery and the Civil War Through Reconstruction (Harry Abrams, 2009).
Published in conjunction with the Library of Congress, this new book is an excellent teaching resource. The history is clearly narrated with an emphasis on personal stories that highlight important themes. It is wonderfully illustrated with many images that can be used in the classroom; also has a good timeline.
The Jim Crow Era, The Great Migration
Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (1901).
W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903).
These short classics reveal the similarities and differences in the perspectives of the leading African-American men of their day.
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (1955).
Published in the wake of the Brown decision, and reprinted many times since, Woodward offers a concise, unsettling, and brilliant interpretation of race relations and racial politics during the long era when segregation ruled the South.
Malaika Adero, ed., Up South: Stories, Studies, and Letters of African American Migrations (New Press, reprint, 1994).
Primary sources from the Great Migration (letters, newspaper, magazine and journal articles).
Reconstruction/Jim Crow Fiction
Mildred Taylor, The Land (Dial, 2001); Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976; Puffin, 1991).
Wonderful, moving young adult novels about black life during Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era; based on Taylor’s family history. The saga begins with Paul-Edward Logan in The Land leaving his family in Georgia in the 1870s and eventually settling in Mississippi where he buys the land that will become the homestead for all the future Logans. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry takes place in 1933.
Margaret Walker, Jubilee (1966; Mariner Books, 1999).
This gripping, honest, and relentless novel weaves together the oral history of the author’s family with 30 years of historical research. The story conveys the human realities of life during slavery, war, and Reconstruction with incomparable skill; it is historical fiction of the highest accomplishment.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960; Harper Perennial Classic).
Set in a small Alabama town during the Depression, this story of race, class, and justice is told from the perspective of 8-year old Scout. Grades 8 – 12
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970; Ballantine Books, 2009).
This autobiography is set in Arkansas and explores a small black community during the Depression and World War II. It offers important insights into racial segregation.
Modern Civil Rights Movement
Juan Williams, et al., Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 (Penguin, 1987).
A superb introduction to the topic, this book was produced as a companion to the PBS documentary series, which is equally superb. The accompanying primary source collection is also outstanding: The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle (Penguin, 1991).
Internet and Teaching Resources on the Modern Civil Rights Movement
Emilye Crosby, A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi (2005).
This analysis of one community’s history is dense but very revealing of local dynamics of race, economics, and power as they occurred outside of the Civil Rights Movement spotlight. It also follows the story into the 1990s.
The Black Freedom Movement
Deborah Menkart, et. al, eds., Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching: A Resource Guide for Classrooms and Communities (Teaching for Change, 2004).
This book is loaded with essays, primary sources, and lesson plans on a wide variety of modern civil rights topics, historical and contemporary.
Civil Rights Movement-Young Adult Fiction
Jeter Naslund Seter, Four Spirits (Harper Perennial, 2004).
A novel set in Birmingham during the height of the civil rights conflict. The characters serve as emblems of the divided citizens of Birmingham, some who fought integration and others who struggled for equality.
Han Nolan, A Summer of Kings (Harcourt, 2006).
A northern white girl and a southern black boy who become friends through circumstance grapple with the philosophies of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. This novel provides a good introduction to the ideas of these leaders, and the characters are able to relate their own lives to them.
Native Americans and Citizenship
Native American Documents Project
Documents, data, and some interpretive essays about federal Indian policy beginning in the 1870s, leading up to the Dawes Act and into the early 20th century.
Capt. Richard C. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans:
Frederick E. Hoxie, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880- 1920 (University of Nebraska Press, 1984).
A history of the campaign to assimilate America’s first peoples by forcing them to conform to majority white culture, and how the meaning of assimilation changed over time. Hoxie examines this effort against the background of rapid immigration and industrialization, continued westward expansion, contemporary social science and popular culture, and national politics, policymaking, and court cases. Examining land cessions and dispossession, federal Indian schools, and the concept of citizenship, he argues that the twists and turns in the policy of forced assimilation served the needs of and united diverse interest groups in white America.
Frederick E. Hoxie, ed., Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices from the Progressive Era (Bedford/St. Martins, 2001).
A small primary source collection that documents the Native American response to white society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The book begins with an essay by Hoxie on “American Indian Activism in the Progressive Era,” and he provides brief contextual introductions to each section and document excerpt. Also includes study questions and a chronology from 1890-1928.
Elliott West, The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado (University Press of Kansas, 1998).
A fascinating book about the conflicts between white migrants and Plains Indians during the Colorado Gold Rush in the 1850s and 1860s. West situates both sets of protagonists in historical and ecological context. He makes a compelling argument that the confrontation between European Americans and Native Americans occurred at a particular historical moment when the Indians’ cultures were already experiencing ecological and social crisis due to their adoption of the horse.
Citizenship Issues in Vermont
Immigrants, Indians, and Blacks
Elise Guyette, “Native Americans in Vermont: The Abenaki”
Elise Guyette, “The French Settlement Of Vermont: 1609-1929”
Elise Guyette, “Stories of Forced Migrations to Vermont”
Elise Guyette, “Immigration to Vermont, 1840-1930”
Colin Calloway, The Western Abenaki of Vermont, 1600-1800: War, Migration and Survival of an Indian People (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990).
Excellent background on the Abenaki people.
Vincent E. Feeney, Finnigans, Slaters, and Stonepeggers: A History of the Irish in Vermont (Images from the Past, 2009).
Hot off the press, this book will likely become the standard bearer on this topic for years to come. Feeney knows more about the Irish in Vermont than anybody.
Karen Hesse, Witness (Scholastic, 2001).
A novel about a small Vermont town in 1924—a town that turns against it’s own when the Ku Klux Klan moves in. Grades 6-8.
The Eugenics Movement
Nancy Gallagher, Breeding Better Vermonters: The Eugenics Project in the Green Mountain State (University Press of New England, 1999).
A thorough, critical yet balanced account of how the eugenics movement in Vermont emerged, evolved, and damaged the lives of many people and communities.
Vermont Eugenics: A Documentary History
This website provides a comprehensive overview of the Eugenics Survey of Vermont, and includes transcripts of many documents.
Joseph Bruchac, Hidden Roots (Scholastic Press, 2004).
In this compelling young adult novel, a teenager copes with the trauma his family suffered at the hands of the Eugenics Survey of Vermont.
Jodi Picoult, Second Glance (Washington Square Press, 2003).
Second Glance is an engrossing novel centered around the eugenics project in Vermont (Picoult drew on both the archives and Nancy Gallagher’s Breeding Better Vermonters). Part ghost story, part love story, part murder mystery, it’s a great read that effectively imagines the emotions, attitudes, and experiences of people who were caught up in the eugenics fervor, as either advocates or victims.
Immigration and Pluralism
Thomas J. Archdeacon, Becoming American: An Ethnic History (The Free Press, 1983).
This is a very good introductory survey of the history of immigration to the U.S.
Pluralism and Unity
This website presents a wide array of materials that explore “the struggle between the two visions” of pluralism and unity in early 20th-century American thought and life. Organized around the questions: What is an American? Who gets to say what an American is? What is un-American? When did Americans become Americans? Where is the center of American identity? The site is arranged into six major sections: “The Idea of Pluralism,” “The Idea of Internationalism,” “Culture and Pluralism,” “Labor and Pluralism,” “Race and Pluralism,” and “Gender and Pluralism.” Features brief biographies and writings of many important figures of the era. The “Concepts” sections provide broader links to major sites on such topics as politics, culture, sociology, religion, economics, Jim Crow laws, eugenics, NAACP, KKK, and modernism.
Various digitized historical materials from the Harvard University Library: documents, photographs, also a very good timeline.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
The Tenement Museum site has lesson plans, primary sources, and a great encyclopedia on topics like immigrant groups, the labor movement, and urban life
Chinese and Japanese Experiences
Jean Pfaelzer, Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans (University of California Press, 2007).
A passionate and terrifying account, with lots of great photographs and a valuable timeline.
Yin, Coolies (Puffin, reprint 1993).
An evocative picture book about the experience of Chinese workers in the West and the building of the railroads.
Roger Daniels, Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II (1993; rev. ed., Hill and Wang, 2004).
Daniels is a premier historian of the wartime Japanese-American incarceration. This relatively brief book is comprehensive, detailed, clear, and shocking.
Deborah Gesensway and Mindy Roseman, Beyond Words: Images from America’s Concentration Camps (Cornell University Press, 1988).
Artwork, photographs, reminiscences, and some poetry from Japanese Americans who were interned during World War Two.
John Tateishi, comp., And Justice For All : An Oral History Of The Japanese American Detention Camps (Random House, 1984).
Politics, the Labor Movement
Alan Berolzheimer, “Continuity and Change in American Democracy, 1861 to the Present”
Juliet Haines Mofford, Talkin’ Union: The American Labor Movement (Discovery Enterprises, 1997).
This little book (only 60 pages) is a handy introductory guide to the history of the labor movement. Includes lots of brief quotes and excerpts from primary sources.