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Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects

Prof. James Gregory
Office Hours: Tuesday 3:30-4:30 or by appointment
118 Smith 543-7792

Students in this class will participate in a set of historical research projects that are documenting the history of social justice activism in the Pacific Northwest. Civil rights movements, labor unions, and radical organizations have played major roles in defining the political values in the area since the late 1800s. No other region has a more vibrant history of labor and leftwing activism.

The University of Washington History Department is home to a set of online public history projects that examine this history and make it available to the public. Used by more than one million online visitors, these website projects are also taught in high school and college classrooms throughout the region. Students in earlier HIST 498 seminars have been involved in producing these projects. Some have had their research papers published. Here are the principal projects:

· Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project

· Great Depression in Washington State Project

· Seattle General Strike Project

· Communism in Washington State - History and Memory Project

General method of instruction

This seminar is a hands-on historical research project. We will not only read about the history of civil rights and labor movements, we will also be producing historical materials and interpretations that will be valuable to others interested in this subject. There is one major assignment: a 15 page research report on an issue, incident, organization, or individual. If the quality of the work warrants it, these reports may be published as part of one of the project websites. In addition, students will be expected to complete several short writing assignments and to participate fully in discussions and other class activities. This is very much a group research effort and I expect we will work together closely over the course of the quarter.


Please note: attendance is mandatory. I expect to be notified if you must miss a class meeting. The required readings are available for download below.

Sept 26: introductions; look over the list of Research Topics and Sources

Oct 3: Read: Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994), pp.49-134

Gigi Peterson, "Recobrando / Recovering The Struggle against Racial Discrimination: The Journey of the Pablo O’Higgins Mural for Seattle Ship Scalers Union," Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Volume 8, Issue 4 (2011) pp.7-40.

Assignment: One page response to each reading. (1) What does Taylor argue about civil rights activism in the Black Community and the Japanese American community. (2) Summarize Peterson's argument in one paragraph. Evaluate her sources in a second paragraph

Assignment: Examine the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project website “Research Reports” to get a sense of what students in other 498s have done.

Oct 10: Due in class: 1-2 page description of your research topic.

Oct 17: Locate and read two secondary sources and at least one primary source. Due in class: 1-2 page report on sources

Oct 24: Turn in research journal pages for week

Oct 31: Turn in research journal pages for week

Nov 7 : Turn in research journal pages for week;
2nd hour: Susan Schulten, "Mapping the Nation" talk in COM 226

Nov 14: TBA

Nov 21: Draft of essay due

Nov 28: no class

Dec 5: TBA

Final paper due Sunday Dec 8, 5pm