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"To Determine the Destiny of Our Black Community": The Black Panther Party's 10-Point Platform and Program
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In 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther ...

In 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland, California, taking their identifying symbol from an earlier all-black voting rights group in Alabama, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. Two years later, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the Black Panthers "the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States." Created, in Newton's words, "to serve the needs of the oppressed people in our communities and defend them against their oppressors," the Panthers patrolled black areas of Oakland with visible, loaded firearms--at the time in accordance with the law--to monitor police actions involving blacks. The organization spread throughout Northern California in the form of small neighborhood groups. They came to national prominence in May 1967, when they arrived armed at the California State legislature in Sacramento to protest a bill banning loaded guns in public places. In October 1967, Newton was wounded in a gun battle with police and charged with killing an officer. His three-year incarceration became a cause célèbre for many young African Americans, and chapters of the Party rapidly opened throughout the country. The Panthers initiated community social programs, such as free breakfasts for children, issued a newspaper, and trained recruits with guns, lawbooks, and texts advocating world revolution. In the following years, police and FBI agents arrested more than 2,000 members in raids on Panther offices that resulted in a number of deaths. Although the Panthers became involved in electoral politics in the 1970s, the Party died out by the end of the decade due to repression and internal strife. The following 10-Point Platform and Program, culminating with the opening paragraphs of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, was issued in October 1966.

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100,000,000 Guinea Pigs : The Dangers of Consumption
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In 1927, responding to the seemingly overpowering claims of advertisers and mass ...

In 1927, responding to the seemingly overpowering claims of advertisers and mass marketers, engineer Frederick Schlink and economist Stuart Chase published Your Money's Worth, which argued for an "extension of the principle of buying goods according to impartial scientific tests rather than according to the fanfare and triumphs of higher salesmanship." Your Money's Worth became an instant best-seller, and the authors organized Consumers' Research, a testing bureau that provided information and published product tests in a new magazine, Consumers' Research Bulletin. The 1929 stock market crash heightened suspicion of consumer capitalism, and the magazine had 42,000 subscribers by 1932. In 1933, Schlink and Arthur Kallet (executive secretary of Consumers' Research) published 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs: Dangers in Everyday Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics. The book struck a responsive chord in depression-era America--it went through thirteen printings in its first six months and became one of the best-selling books of the decade. The book's first chapter ("The Great American Guinea Pig"), gave a flavor of their vigorous arguments.

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"The Workers, Once Again, Seem to Have Fallen by the Wayside:" The Impact of September 11th on Airline Workers
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The economic impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the ...

The economic impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center most immediately affected workers in the airline and tourist industries. The airlines, like much of the U.S. economy, were already experiencing an economic slowdown after the boom years of the late 1990s. Within weeks of the attack, airlines laid off tens of thousands of workers and threatened to lay off more. President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress quickly responded, offering $5 billion in cash grants and promising more. Earlier precedents, such as the $1.5 billion government bailout for the Chrylser Corporation in 1979-80, were based on the need to avoid severe job losses and economic turmoil, yet in the case of Chrysler nearly half of the hourly workers lost their jobs despite the bailout. In this interview, "Joshua DeVries," an airline employee, describes workers' reaction to the lay offs and government response.

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"I Had Visions of Being Rounded Up:" Emira Habiby-Browne Describes the Impact of the September 11, 2001 Attacks on Arab Americans
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For Arab and Muslim Americans, especially those living in New York, the ...

For Arab and Muslim Americans, especially those living in New York, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were particularly painful; they not only had to confront the sorrow of the attacks, but they also faced a tide of discrimination, harassment, and in some cases violence aimed at Arabs and Muslims. Emira Habiby-Browne, the director of the Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn, spoke about the hostility many community members faced on the job, and the fear that spread as hundreds of Arab and Middle Eastern men were detained in secret by the federal government. Like other groups whose loyalty was questioned during wartime due to their ethnic background, Arab and Muslim Americans identify themselves closely with their country and were deeply saddened and frustrated by the suspicion targeted at them.

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"The red flag in New York--Riotous communist workingmen driven from Tompkins Square by the mounted police, Tuesday, January 13th, 1874."
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As the depression of the 1870s deepened, demonstrations by unemployed workers took ...

As the depression of the 1870s deepened, demonstrations by unemployed workers took place all over the country. Workers and their allies demanding relief and job programs often were met with official violenceand were treated with hostility by the nation's press. On January 13, 1874 a workers' demonstration in Tompkins Square in New York City was broken up when mounted police moved in, beating demonstrators with clubs.

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We are Told that the Americans have 13 Councils Compos'd of Chiefs and Warriors: The Chickasaws Send a Message of Conciliation to Congress, 1783
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The Chickasaw Indians occupied a key region of northern Mississippi. They held ...

The Chickasaw Indians occupied a key region of northern Mississippi. They held in check the French and Choctaws with their allies and trading partners the British. The American Revolution ended that balance of power. The Chickasaws sought neutrality but also felt allegiance to the British due to their long-held ties. In 1779, the Virginians sent threatening messages warning them of dire consequences if they did not make peace. The Chickasaw chiefs replied in a bold manner. The Mississippi River valley changed signifcantly when the Spanish replaced the British in West Florida. The Chickasaws found themselves without allies and caught in a competitive crossfire between Spain, the new United States government, and the various new states. The once defiant Chickasaw leaders sought to inaugurate a new relationship with the new United States by sending this message to Congress in the spring of 1783. They desired a halt to encroachments on their land and regular access to supplies in order to appease their belligerent young warriors.

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"1500 Doomed":  People's Press  Reports on the Gauley Bridge Disaster
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The deadly lung disease silicosis is caused when miners, sandblasters, and foundry ...

The deadly lung disease silicosis is caused when miners, sandblasters, and foundry and tunnel workers inhale fine particles of silica dust--a mineral found in sand, quartz, and granite. In 1935, approximately 1,500 workers--largely African Americans who had come north to find work--were killed by exposure to silica dust while building a tunnel in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. Ordinarily, silicosis takes a several years to develop, but these West Virginia tunnel workers were falling ill in a matter of months because of exposure to unusually high concentrations of silica dust. The crisis over silicosis suddenly became a national issue, as seen in this article in the radical newspaper Peoples' Press . In 1936 congressional hearings on the Gauley Bridge disaster, it was revealed that company officials and engineers wore masks to protect themselves when they visited the tunnel, but they failed to provide masks for the tunnelers themselves, even when the workers requested them.

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"All Over the Land Nothing Else Was Spoken Of ": Cabeza de Vaca Takes Up Residence as a Medicine Man in the Southwest, 1530s
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One of the earliest accounts of the European-Indian encounter in North America ...

One of the earliest accounts of the European-Indian encounter in North America was of the ill-fated 1527 expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez. After disembarking on the Florida coast near Tampa, the Spanish forces on land and sea became disastrously separated. Having overstayed their welcome and with local Indians in pursuit, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, second in command, set out with his men on rafts back to Cuba. Eighty survivors came through a hurricane to land near Galveston, Texas. Four years later, in 1536, when they were rescued in northern Mexico by Spanish slave traders, only four remained: Cabeza de Vaca, two other Spaniards, and an African named Estevan. In his epic Relacions (1542), Cabeza de Vaca recounted how he was frequently called upon to cure natives that they encountered, which led to the natives' adoration. Since the Indians left no written sources, what little we know about the coming of the European explorers and their early encounters with the Indians often comes from European accounts such as this.

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"Carried Thence for Trafficke of the West Indies Five Hundred Negroes": Job Hortop and the British Enter the Slave Trade, 1567
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Great Britain recognized the lucrative possibilities of the Atlantic slave trade long ...

Great Britain recognized the lucrative possibilities of the Atlantic slave trade long before it permanently colonized North America. By the mid-sixteenth century, British ships followed Spanish and Portuguese vessels along the West African coast and familiarized themselves with the trade between the Portuguese and Africans. John Hawkins, an admiral with royal backing, inaugurated the British slave trade with three expeditions. On his 1562 voyage, he purchased slaves from the Portuguese in West Africa and sold them to the Spanish in Hispaniola at great profit, despite Spanish prohibitions. In 1567, he seized 500 Africans in Sierre Leone and set off across the ocean, but the Spanish fleet captured him in a Mexican port and destroyed many of his ships. Although he escaped, 100 of his men were left in the Bay of Mexico; only three eventually returned England. One of those was 17-year-old Job Hortop, who wrote this narrative after 23 years in Spanish captivity.

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"We Took Great Store of Codfish and Called it Cape Cod:" Bartholomew Gosnold Sails Along Northeastern North America, 1602
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Compared to the French, Spanish, and Dutch, the English were slow to ...

Compared to the French, Spanish, and Dutch, the English were slow to develop an interest in North American colonization By the later part of the sixteenth century, however, a group of interested and well-connected Englishmen with experience in Irish colonization began to consider permanent settlements in North America. Bartholomew Gosnold undertook a small prospecting expedition on the vessel Concord in 1602, passing down the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts to explore the northern Virginia coast. Gosnold was the first European to see and set foot on Cape Cod--which received its name for its abundance of cod fish--and built a small fur trading station there. The successful voyage enticed English colonization efforts to turn toward this part of North America. Four years later, Gosnold commanded a voyage to bring the first colonists to Jamestown, Virginia. Several accounts of the 1602 prospecting expedition quickly appeared in print.; this complete one was first published by Samuel Purchas in 1625.

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"What Can You Get By Warre": Powhatan Exchanges Views With Captain John Smith, 1608"
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Captain John Smith was a soldier and adventurer in Europe and Asia ...

Captain John Smith was a soldier and adventurer in Europe and Asia before he became involved in the Virginia Company's plan to establish a settlement in North America. He was aboard one of the three ships that reached Virginia in April 1607. The first settlers, ill prepared for life in the harsh environment, had few useful skills but great expectations of easy profits. They suffered from disease, malnutrition, and frequent attacks by Indians in the early years; over one half died the first winter. Smith took over Jamestown's government amid this chaos and death; he explored the region and traded for desperately needed supplies with the Indians. Smith recognized the need to establish peaceful relations with the powerful Powhatan Indians of the coastal region, and he traded English manufactured goods for much needed Indian corn. Smith recounted this exchange with the Indian leader Powhatan in his 1624 Historyie.

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"The Starving Time": John Smith Recounts the Early History of Jamestown, 1609
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The organizers of the first English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 ...

The organizers of the first English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 had visions of easy wealth and abundant plunder. The colonists, a group with little agricultural experience and weighted with gentry, instead found a swampy and disease-ridden site. The local Indians were unwilling to labor for them. Few survived the first difficult winters. Captain John Smith had been a soldier, explorer, and adventurer. With the colony in near chaos, he took over the government of the colony in 1608 and instituted a policy of rigid discipline and agricultural cultivation. When a gunpowder accident forced his return to England in 1608, the colonists faced a disastrous winter known as "starving time."

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"The Iroquois were much astonished that two men should have been killed so quickly": Samuel de Champlain Introduces Firearms to Native Warfare, 1609
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Samuel de Champlain was a trader, soldier, explorer, diplomat, and author. The ...

Samuel de Champlain was a trader, soldier, explorer, diplomat, and author. The critical figure in French efforts to establish the colony of New France along the St. Lawrence river, he set up a small trading post at Quebec, the capital of the colony, in 1608. Given the small numbers of French colonists and their primary interest in the fur trade, Champlain recognized that success depended on alliances with the native peoples of the northern region. In June 1609, Champlain and nine French soldiers joined a war party of Montganais, Algonkaian, and Hurons to fight their enemies, the Iroquois. They met their foe, probably about 200 Mohawks, along the lake later named Lake Champlain. The French firearms caused death and consternation among the Indians and introduced such weapons to native conflicts. Over the next decades, Champlain chronicled his explorations and observations of New France in several volumes, providing important information on life and warfare in seventeenth-century North America.

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"Our Plantation Is Very Weak": The Experiences of an Indentured Servant in Virginia, 1623
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Planters in early seventeenth-century Virginia had bountiful amounts of land and a ...

Planters in early seventeenth-century Virginia had bountiful amounts of land and a profitable crop in tobacco, but they needed labor to till their fields. They faced resistance from the local Indian people and were unable to enslave them, so they recruited poor English adults as servants. These young men and women signed indentures, or contracts, for four to seven year terms of work in exchange for their passage to North America. Richard Frethorne came to Jamestown colony in 1623 as an indentured servant. In this letter dated March 20, 1623, written just three months after his entry into the colony, he described the death and disease all around him. Two thirds of his fellow shipmates had died since their arrival. Those without capital suffered particularly precarious situations with the lack of supplies and loss of leaders. Frethorne pleaded with his parents to redeem (buy out) his indenture.

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A Letter Home From Massachusetts Bay in 1631
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Over 20,000 migrants from England crossed the Atlantic to the new colony ...

Over 20,000 migrants from England crossed the Atlantic to the new colony of Massachusetts Bay in the decade of the 1630s. This sudden influx of settlers became known to historians as the "Great Migration." Once in New England, they quickly dispersed to various towns. About forty families followed Sir Richard Saltonstall and the Reverend George Phillips four miles up the Charles River to found the community of Watertown in July 1630. Many had relocated from the East Anglian region of England, where William Pond, the correspondent's father, lived. These families attempted to set up a familiar farm economy based on grain and livestock, but early dreams of an easy trade with the Indians proved elusive. Their concerns focused on feeding themselves and achieving economic sufficiency.

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"Thus This Poore People Populate This Howling Desart": Edward Johnson Describes the Founding of the Town of Concord in Massachusetts Bay, 1635
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After their arrival, the Puritan migrants to Massachusetts Bay quickly dispersed into ...

After their arrival, the Puritan migrants to Massachusetts Bay quickly dispersed into a series of settlements around Boston and then moved inland. Colonists formed clustered towns where they could secure land for their families and churches for their worship. One such community was Concord, Massachusetts, founded by Simon Willard, a fur trader with the local Indians. In his history of New England, entitled The Wonder-Working Providence, woodworker and local historian Edward Johnson recorded an account "of the manner how they placed downe their dwellings in this Desart Wildernesse." Johnson emphasized the providential (God-given) nature of the Puritan mission, one that saw the eastern woodlands, a region that the English and Indians shared in the first decades of settlement, as a wilderness.

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"So Must We Be One..., Otherwise We Shall Be All Gone Shortly": Narragansett Chief Miantonomi Tries to Form an Alliance Against Settlers in New England and Long Island, 1640s.
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Lion Gardener, author of this 1660 narrative, was an English military engineer ...

Lion Gardener, author of this 1660 narrative, was an English military engineer who came to Connecticut in 1635 to oversee the construction of the fort and town of Saybrook. Thus he was present for the Pequot War of 1637, in which Connecticut settlers massacred the Pequot Indians. Gardener, who had advised against engaging with the Pequots, left Connecticut in 1639 and settled in Long Island. There he lived on Gardener's Island, which he bought from Wyandanch, the sachem (chief) of the Montaukett tribe, with whom he had friendly relations. In the early 1840s, Miantonomi, the sachem of the Narragansetts, a rival of the Montauketts, came to Long Island to create an alliance with the Montauketts and other local tribes against the English. Gardener and Wyandanch succeeded in contacting the leaders of nearby Connecticut for help, the plan was stopped, and Miantomi was captured and executed the following year.

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"Their Extraordinary Great Labor": Roger Williams Observes Indian Customs and Language, 1643
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European observers generally commented critically upon the leading role of Indian women ...

European observers generally commented critically upon the leading role of Indian women in work. Roger Williams proved an exception. The minister, once head of the Salem church, was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1635 for questioning the Puritan leadership. He helped found the colony of Rhode Island around Narragansett Bay on land purchased from the Narragansett people to the south, with whom he and the colony maintained generally good relations. He spent much of his life trying to understand the Indians 'customs and language, and published some of his sympathetic observations in his 1643 book Key into the Language of America where he offered a glossary of Algonquian words that revealed much about Indian life. Williams also criticized certain colonial practices, such as the occupation of Indian lands by Europeans, and advocated the separation of church and state and individual freedom in other writings.

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"They Live Well in the Time of their Service": George Alsop Writes of Servants in Maryland, 1663
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Lord Baltimore established the colony of Maryland in the upper part of ...

Lord Baltimore established the colony of Maryland in the upper part of Chesapeake Bay in the early 1630s as a refuge for his fellow Catholics. Baltimore's plans for a feudal system with labor performed by tenant farmers, along with many of the colonists' other high expectations, proved impossible to establish. The tobacco boom and offers of free land to Protestant and Catholic alike drew thousands of English immigrants to Virginia and Maryland. Over three quarters of the migrants to the seventeenth-century Chesapeake arrived as indentured servants, financing their passage by signing indentures, or contracts, for four to seven years labor. Most had agricultural backgrounds and were also fleeing poverty and unemployment in England. George Alsop was one such indentured servant, probably with experience as an artisan or mechanic. He offered an account that boasted of the favorable situation for servants, especially women, to counter other writers who compared conditions in the Chesapeake to slavery.

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One Year in the Life of Thomas Minor, Connecticut Farmer, 1668.
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Thomas Minor was born in England and came to New England in ...

Thomas Minor was born in England and came to New England in 1630. By 1668, when this selection from his journal was written, Minor, his wife Grace, and their children were living in what is now Stonington, a town on the Connecticut coast. Indians lived nearby, and the journal shows Minor and his family interacting with them. Minor was a farmer, and he also had a number of public responsibilities. These included town treasurer, leader of the militia, selectman, and brander of horses. He also participated in church and in town meetings. This selection records one year in Minor's life. He began the year in March, as people in England and New England did until the mid-eighteenth century. While his spelling is idiosyncratic and therefore difficult to read, the journal is a valuable record of how written English looked at that time--and probably also of how Minor pronounced his words.

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