Labor History Links


Teachers Corner


Sites of special interest :

History Matters - Many documents and website links relating to labor. Site is keyword-searchable.  Links to other labor history websites and on-line exhibitions. Links to syllabi, lesson plans and information on teaching. Links to discussion groups for subjects that include labor and social history

Women and Social Movements, 1820-1940 - A fabulous teaching resource, with some of it geared toward labor history--though most of it is now subscription-based only. Example: primary documents and lesson plans on women and labor, including the 1909-1910 New York shirtwaist strike,  Lawrence, Massachusetts textile strike of 1912, the 1938 Pecan Shellers strike in San Antonio, and much much more;

American Labor Studies Center " mission is to collect, analyze, evaluate, create and disseminate labor history and labor studies curriculum and related materials to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers nationwide."

Curriculum plans from the Wisconsin Labor History Society curriculum --most of these are usable beyond Wisconsin

Zinn Education Project is regularly updated with teaching plans and specific curricula ideas that emphasize the role of workers and class issues, including Civil War and Class Conflict I have organized those lesson plans chronologically, but search their site for themes and topics as well

The Power In Our Hands: A Curriculum on the History of Work and Workers in the United States-originally published in 1988, this curriculum has been integrated into the Zinn education project. The book is well-worth the $18.00 price for the innovative teacher interested in integrating labor history into the curriculum

Curriculum guide for k-12 from the Illinois Labor History Society some of these are very well developed, with handouts, etc; some have rough ideas for approaching the topic

Labor in the Schools Committee of the California Teachers Federation --- multiple ideas and lesson plans, See also their resource list

Picturing U.S. History by Josh Freeman "digital project based on the belief that visual materials are vital to understanding the American past. This website provides online "Lessons in Looking," a guide to Web resources, forums, essays, reviews, and classroom activities to help teachers incorporate visual evidence into their classrooms." Great for labor history at all levels

Teacher Lesson Plan: Using Oral History: This lesson presents social history content and topics through the voices of ordinary people. It draws on primary sources from the American Memory Collection, American Life Histories, 1936-1940.

Resources For Teachers: Oral History Overview using Southern Oral History interviews But the guide is useful for any teacher

Tenement Museum Lesson Plans including "teaching with objects" "doing oral history" "primary source activities" for all levels, from from elementary level to high school

Teaching the Local These sample teaching projects represent the work done by Mahoning Valley teachers in Center for Working Class Studies Summer Institute. 

Teaching Students to Become Producers of New Historical Knowledge on the Web by Kathryn Kish Sklar S.U.N.Y. Binghamton

Special Issue on Labor History (OAH Magazine of History) includes articles such as "Why Teach Labor History?" "Using Songs to Teach Labor History (pdf) "It's About People": Social and Labor History in the Classroom Bret Eynon and William Friedheim

American Social History Project dedicating to revitalizing the study of history by challenging the ways that people learn about the past

Steeltown USA: A Digital Library of Poetry, Images, and Documents
Another site "provides a variety of resources for secondary and college teachers who want to include attention to work and working-class studies in their courses."

See my booklist and/or filmlist for specific subjects for classroom use

Glossary of Labor Terms from the American Labor Studies Center


College and Labor Education Syllabi

Call for Syllabi - We need your syllabi and Lesson plan ideas!!!LAWCHA has issued a call for historians to share their lesson plans and syllabi so that we can continue to build a community of scholars who learn from each other. The materials below are a start. Please send them to me in word or pdf, or send a link of your on-line syllabus to me (Rosemary Feurer) at the following e-mail address:
If you are not yet a member of LAWCHA, please consider joining:

Workers and Work in America, 1600 to the Present: A Multimedia Course Professor Zahavi has posted his course on-line, with links to sources. This might be a good starting point

Center for Working Class studies syllabus library- mostly not history, but great ideas here

Teaching About Class includes Readings about Class Class Theory Table and ideas developed by participants in the 2006 "Class in the Classroom" Summer Institute

Bill Barry's Labor Education courses History, Labor Law, Oral history projects.Also posting posting streaming audio of radio shows and streaming video of guest speakers

Andy Arnold's syllabus Working for a Living in America Spring 2010 Kutztown University

Jennifer Brook's The South since 1877 syllabus

Michelle Haberland's The Global South syllabus

Greta deJong's The African American Freedom Struggle since Reconstruction syllabus

Greta deJong's Social Movements in the United States course

Cindy Hahamovitch's Women and Work Syllabus

Cindy Hahamovitch's Workers in American Life Syllabus

Robert Korstad's Insurgent South syllabus

Max Krochmal's Behind the Veil African American Oral History & the Jim Crow South Syllabus

Jana Lipman's US Migration and Labor syllabus


Steven Reich's American Workers in the Industrial Age intensive seminar syllabus

Pamela Voekel's Race, Gender, and Revolution in the Americas syllabus





Broad chronological or topical lesson frames

Labor Matters Introduces students to the role of the labor movement in securing contemporary benefits such as the 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage, and workplace safety regulations.

Studs Terkel’s “Working”: A Teaching Guide An invaluable educational resource for introducing Studs Terkel’s classic 1974 work of oral history to today’s students.

Curriculum plans from the Wisconsin Labor History Society --most of these are usable beyond Wisconsin --including "What are unions?", "why did they develop", lessons on the Jungle, women's labor, WWII and labor --all are connected to Wisconsin standards, but many of these standards are transferable to other state standards

Curriculum guide for k-12 from the Illinois Labor History Society some of these are very well developed, with handouts, etc; some have vague ideas for approaching the topic

Servitude to Service: African-American Women as Wage Earners Rita G. Koman

Creating a Right to Childhood: Child Labor and Social Reform -timelines, background, primary sources, photos, teaching ideas, classroom assignments

Giving Voice to Child Laborers Through Monologues language arts/performance from Read/Write/Think

Documents from the Fulton Cotton Bag mill on child labor

Exploring child labor with young students - Rethinking Schools article see also confronting child labor

Child Labor in the Cotton Mills Univ. of North Carolina

AFT curriculum unit on child farmworkers

Child Labor, safety and health, and other "performance task" Lesson plans f rom Wisconsin Labor History Society

Child labor website page for students

Your Rights on the Job "information assembled is designed to help young workers understnad their rights in the workplace as protected in federal law"

U.S. Steel Gary Works – Lesson plans on the steel industry and the workers

Harry Bridges Project High School Lesson Plans including surveillance, cold war, unions

The Pursuit of Happiness:  Labor History in Chicago

Strikes in US and Texas history compare famous strikes in U.S. and Texas history.

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project some materials offer starting points for thinking about engaged learning strategies

Teaching plans for specific chronological time frames, arranged according to chronology