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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

On Saturday, March 25, 1911, shortly before the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory closed for the day, a fire erupted. Within 20 minutes, 146 garment workers had died—some from smoke inhalation or fire, others by falling or jumping to their deaths. This kit includes government and union reports from subsequent investigations as well as speeches, testimonials, and newspaper stories.

The Battle for Yosemite

In the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the subsequent fires, city officials proposed damning the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley. The proposal generated a national opposition seeking to protect the national parks. This kit includes letters, reports, articles, and congressional testimony on both sides of the debate.

The Tulsa Race Massacre

In 1921, Tulsa’s prosperous African American Greenwood District was destroyed by a White lynch mob. The 35 city block area was burned, hundreds were murdered, and survivors were placed in an internment camp. This kit includes survivor accounts, newspaper articles, reports, telegrams, photographs, and historical analyses.

Green Book Guides

In 1936, New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green published the first The Negro Motorist Green-Book, which became an annual guide for African American travelers. The guide was a necessity in the Jim Crow era, when Blacks faced discrimination such as refusal of service at restaurants and “sundown towns” that banned people of color after nightfall.

Japanese-American Internment 1

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the American government incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese-Americans. Learn more about the experience of young Japanese-Americans by reading their letters to a librarian in San Diego. Collection 1 consists of letters from Tetsuzo Hirasaki (Ted) and Louise Ogawa from 1942-1944.

Japanese-American Internment 2

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the American government incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese-Americans. Learn more about the experience of young Japanese-Americans by reading their letters to a librarian in San Diego. Collection 2 includes letters from Tetsuzo and Louise, as well as eight other young Japanese-Americans from 1942-1943.

Vietnam Vets Oral Histories

In the 1960s thousands of American troops began pouring into Southeast Asia. Ultimately, some 58,000 Americans and 1.5 million Vietnamese died. Explore the conflict by reading the personal accounts of soldiers. 

Gay Liberation Movement: The Gay Peoples Union Collection

The Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s inspired gay Americans to launch their own campaign for equality. This kit contains materials from the Gay Peoples Union of Milwaukee in the 1970s and offers insight into the movement.