Cover Image 50 Core American Docs
“An Incident in Contemporary American Life,” by Mitchell Jamieson at the Department of Interior, Library of Congress

Knockin' on the Door: African Americans

One way to understand American history is to see it as a series of efforts by outsiders to become insiders, to join fully in American life. This is a story told by African American history, by immigrant history, and by labor history, for example. 

This year’s Documents in Detail webinar series will focus on the efforts of outsiders to “knock on the door” and gain full admittance to American life. Using sources from our CDC volume, 50 Core American Documents, we will examine what people thought was the American way of life and why people wanted to join it. In the later sessions in the series, we will examine the question of whether the terms on which outsiders join in American life have now changed. 

The Great Migration was a response to the growing need for industrial workers in the North during World War I.  But it was also a reaction to the significant limits on personal freedom and safety that African Americans experienced in the South.  Using a government report on migration from 1919 as our source, this webinar will explore the ways in which African Americans in the early 20th century sought greater access to an American way of life.

Our webinars meet monthly on Wednesday nights at 7:30-8:30 pm ET. Participants who remain digitally present for the duration of the webinar will receive an attendance letter from Teaching American History for 1 hour of professional development.

Document Highlighted: W.T.B. William’s Negro Exodus from the South


December 20, 2023 -
December 20, 2023
7:30 PM EDT
8:30 PM EDT
Teaching American History
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The Scholars

Professor of History; Chair, Master of Arts in American History and Government at Ashland University
Senior Fellow at Teaching American History
Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at Chapman University