Labor History

Flight 93 fuselage and call button, now housed in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

September 11

These Free Online Resources Tell the Story of 9/11 and Its Aftermath

Browse 12 archives, databases and portals that help users deepen their understanding of the attacks

Three miners with federal soldier prepare to surrender weapons.

What Made the Battle of Blair Mountain the Largest Labor Uprising in American History

Its legacy lives on today in the struggles faced by modern miners seeking workers' rights

An installation view of "Automania" at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The red car in front is a Cisitalia 202 GT Car (1946) designed by Italian firm Pininfarina; the green car in the background is a German "Beetle," a.k.a. a Volkswagen Type 1 Sedan (1949).  The lithograph on the wall is Watch the Fords Go By (1937) by A. M. Cassandre.

How the Automobile Changed the World, for Better or Worse

New MoMA exhibition explores artists' responses to the beauty, brutality and environmental devastation of cars and car culture

The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City, a 1931 mural by Mexican artist Diego Rivera, resides in an exhibition space in the San Francisco Art Institute. In a precarious financial position, the school has reportedly considered selling the mural for an estimated $50 million.

Why a California School's Potential Sale of Diego Rivera Mural Is So Controversial

Local officials are seeking landmark designation for the 1931 artwork, likely blocking the San Francisco Art Institute's plan

Johns Hopkins, founder of the Baltimore university that bears his name, enslaved at least four unnamed men in 1850. Pictured behind Hopkins is the 1850 "slave schedule" with his name (#33, circled in blue) and the enslaved individuals' ages.

New Research

Long Heralded as an Abolitionist, Johns Hopkins Enslaved People, Records Show

The Baltimore university that bears his name announced new research that "shattered" perceptions of the Quaker entrepreneur

Luisa Capetillo, left, was a labor organizer and one of Puerto Rico's foundational feminists. Right, women on Election Day in 1936, the first year all women on the island could vote.

100 Years of Women at the Ballot Box

In Puerto Rico, Women Won the Vote in a Bittersweet Game of Colonial Politics

Puertorriqueñas' fight for suffrage shaped by class, colonialism and racism—but even today, island residents cannot vote for president

The pandemic has been devastating for both child care workers and families that depend on them.

Covid-19

Covid-19's Impact on Working Women Is an Unprecedented Disaster

In September, 865,000 women left the workforce, with effects playing out differently for those of different races and classes

A letter that tipped off authorities to the illegal conditions of the garment factory begs rescuers to work quickly and not arouse suspicion. “Don’t forget to be careful,” it concludes.

20th-Century Slavery in a California Sweatshop Was Hiding in Plain Sight

The El Monte sweatshop case exposed a web of corruption—and the enslavement of more than 70 Los Angeles-area garment workers

Men and women lining up during the 1902 Coal Strike for their allotment of coal.

The Coal Strike That Defined Theodore Roosevelt's Presidency

To put an end to the standoff, the future progressive champion sought the help of a titan of business: J.P. Morgan

New York workers, angered by the Mayor's apparent anti-Vietnam-War sympathies, wave American flags as they march in a demonstration near City Hall in New York City on May 15, 1970.

The 'Hard Hat Riot' of 1970 Pitted Construction Workers Against Anti-War Protesters

The Kent State shootings further widened the chasm among a citizenry divided over the Vietnam War

Joseph A. "Jock" Yablonski announces his candidacy for the presidency of the United Mine Workers.

Fifty Years Ago, the Murder of Jock Yablonski Shocked the Labor Movement

The conspiracy to kill the United Mine Workers official went all the way to the top of his own union

Signmakers Stanley Sawicki and Stanley Palka prepare several thousand picket signs in 1950 for a possible Chrysler auto workers' strike over employee pensions.

Separating Truth From Myth in the So-Called ‘Golden Age’ of the Detroit Auto Industry

The post-war era’s labor unrest and market instability has seemingly been forgotten in the public’s memory

Chinese laborers at work with pick and shovel wheelbarrows and one horse dump carts filling in under the long secret town trestle which was originally built in 1865 on the Present Souther Pacific Railroad lines of Sacramento.

The Transcontinental Railroad Wouldn't Have Been Built Without the Hard Work of Chinese Laborers

A new exhibit at the National Museum of American History details this underexamined history

Hobo King Dutch, who first set out to ride the rails when he was 10 years old,  meets up at the festival’s boxcar with Britt resident John Pratt.

The Last of the Great American Hobos

Hop a train to Iowa, where proud vagabonds gather every summer to crown the new king and queen of the rails

Miners marched to Lattimer, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 1897, to protest harsh working conditions.

How a 1897 Massacre of Pennsylvania Coal Miners Morphed From a Galvanizing Crisis to Forgotten History

The death of 19 immigrants may have unified the labor movement, but powerful interests left their fates unrecognized until decades later

An 1894 advertisement shows the interior of a Pullman dining-car belonging to the Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton Railway. The view through the window depicts the Mosler Safe Company factory in Hamilton, Ohio.

The Rise and Fall of the Sleeping Car King

George Pullman’s unbending business acumen made him a mogul, but also inspired the greatest labor uprising of the 19th century

In 1911, demonstrators protested following the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City.

Why the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Makes for a Complicated History

Charged with manslaughter, the owners were acquitted in December 1911. A Smithsonian curator reexamines the labor and business practices of the era

Luisa Moreno, born to a wealthy Guatemalan family, struck out on her own at a young age, eager to alter the world around her for the better.

Guatemalan Immigrant Luisa Moreno Was Expelled From the U.S. for Her Groundbreaking Labor Activism

The little-known story of an early champion of workers’ rights receives new recognition

An image from the Slater Mill Historic Site in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

How Industrial Espionage Started America's Cotton Revolution

To the British, Samuel Slater was ‘Slater the traitor,’ but to the Americans, he was the father of the American industrial revolution

Conveyor bridges to Bin Structure.

These Photos of the Abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery Document Its Sticky History

A new photography book uncovers the last days (and lasting legacy) of a New York institution

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