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 Together: The Rainbow Coalition

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 primary sources, 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. 

At the Democratic Party’s National Convention in 1984, Jesse Jackson gave his now-famous “Rainbow Coalition” speech, in which he outlined how the party could benefit by embracing outsider groups.  In this webinar, we will discuss the historical context of Jackson’s vision of multicultural and multiracial political inclusivity and the extent to which his speech presaged today’s Democratic Party.

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.

Highlighted Documents: Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition Speech


April 10, 2024 -
April 10, 2024
7:30 PM EDT
8:30 PM EDT
Teaching American History
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The Scholars

Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at Hillsdale College
Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at Gardner-Webb University