Illustration of a man typing on his laptop on a rollercoaster ride.

Work Sucks. What Could Salvage It?

New books examine the place of work in our lives—and how people throughout history have tried to change it.
Painting of a young boy working as an apprentice, wearing an apron

How Long Did the School Year Last in Early America?

Even throwing off of a colonial power, representative institutions, Protestantism, and local autonomy in school decisions did not produce an egalitarian system.
Scientists carrying a log by using straps around their heads.

1,000 Years Ago, Ancient Puebloans Built a Mysteriously Vast City. We May Finally Know How.

High up on the Colorado Plateau, in what is today the state of New Mexico, sit the remains of what was once a city of epic proportions.
Illustration of Abraham Lincoln writing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Abraham Lincoln Is a Hero of the Left

Leftists have regarded Lincoln as a pro-labor hero who helped vanquish chattel slavery. We should celebrate him today within the radical democratic tradition.
An public work space

The Idea of Work, From Below

Ideas about working from the employee perspective.
Protest signs from the 1963 March on Washington

A Federal Job Guarantee: The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement

The 1963 March on Washington put a government guarantee to a job at the front of the civil rights agenda. It’s long past time to complete the work.

The Once and Future Temp

What can the history of the temp-work industry teach us about the precarity of modern working life?
John Henry swinging a hammer, with the steam drill behind him.

John Henry and the Divinity of Labor

Variations in the legend of a steel-driving man tell us about differing American views of the value and purpose of work.
Newsies smoking at Skeeter's Branch.

Lewis Hine, Photographer of the American Working Class

Lewis Hine captured the misery, dignity, and occasional bursts of solidarity within US working-class life in the early twentieth century.
Galveston Central Wharf in 1861

Granger’s Juneteenth Orders and the Limiting of Freedom

To what extent did the Union general's famous orders actually liberate the enslaved in Texas?
Men observing teams of horses and mules.

Andrew Jackson and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

How the so-called champion of the common man set a precedent for using federal troops to quash labor unrest.

Factory Made

A history of modernity as a history of factories struggles to see beyond their walls.
Teachers and their supporters picketing.

The Media Still Gets the Working Class Wrong — But Not in the Way You Think.

The U.S. working class is tremendously diverse — and growing in strength.

Why Did White Workers Leave the Democratic Party?

Historian Judith Stein debunks liberal myths about racism, the New Deal, and why the Democrats moved right.
An oil rig sprays crude oil into the air.

Voices from the Oilfields

Using oral histories of early East Texas oil workers, recorded in the 1950s, we hear about the chaos and excess that accompanied the discovery of oil.

The Bisbee Deportation of 1917

It had not only a pivotal effect in Arizona's own labor history, but also on labor activity throughout the country.
Photo of Black woman and boy posing with a car packed with their belongings during the Great Migration.

The Hosts of Black Labor

The South must reform its attitude toward the Negro. The North must reform its attitude toward common labor. 
Black nurses and Sea View Hospital.

The ‘Black Angels’ Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis

Professional nurses who moved north during the Great Migration worked in New York City’s most contagious sanatorium — and changed the course of public health.
Ella Watson in American Gothic, photographed by Gordon Parks.

She Was No ‘Mammy’

Gordon Parks’s most famous photograph, "American Gothic," was of a cleaning woman in Washington, D.C. She has a story to tell.
A field of cotton.

What a Series of Killings in Rural Georgia Revealed About Early 20th-Century America

On the continuing regime of racial terror in the post-Civil War American South.