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American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

History Resources

Since its founding in 1981, ASHP/CML has embraced a range of media to change how people learn U.S. history and illuminate how working people and “ordinary” Americans shaped the nation’s past. We began with paper bound between covers, publishing the two volume Who Built America? survey of the ways that working men and women have influenced the economic, social, and political transformation of U.S. society. The Who Built America? textbook, after three print editions is now in being converted to an open eductional resource. Along the way we've also developed ten documentaries on a variety of social history topics, each thirty minutes long and designed for classroom use.

In digital media, ASHP/CML pioneered the creation of history CD-ROMs and has produced numerous websites, including databases of carefully chosen and contextualized primary source documents, an experiment in narrative and spatial immersion, the first crowdsourced history archive, and online games. And we like people just as much as pixels; ASHP/CML sponsors public programs on issues in public history and education, which take place at our home institution, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

In 2020, ASHP/CML responded to the need for teaching materials that provide historical context for current events by creating the following online resource pages:

Epidemics in U.S. History

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in the United States and around the world leaves many of us seeking ways  to place the pandemic in historical context. ASHP/CML has compiled a list of resources and discussion questions to assist students, teachers, and the general public in understanding past epidemics and connect this knowledge to the present situation. 

Historicizing Black Resistance in the U.S.

ASHP/CML has compiled resources for those who want to better understand the history of both black oppression and black resistance that make up the U.S. story. This selective compilation highlights materials drawn from our own collections, plus links to other freely accessible documents, collections, lesson plans, and items suitable for students, teachers, researchers, public historians, and the interested public. 

Understanding Elections in U.S. History

Every election is consequential and determining who has the right to vote has been a struggle since the founding of the nation. Elections can also indicate the vitality of democracy itself, testing the structures of government as well as the public’s embrace of democratic principles. For those wanting to better understand this history, the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning has gathered a number of documents and teaching resources related to elections in the United States.