Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Civil Rights & Labor History Consortium
Home About Photos Projects Oral Histories Maps For Teachers Articles / Research Reports

This page is a gateway to a consortium of civil rights and labor history projects directed by Professor James N. Gregory at the University of Washington and supported by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Center for the Study of Pacific Northwest.

The thirteen projects bring together maps, films, slide shows, nearly one hundred video oral history interviews, and several thousand photographs, documents, and digitized newspaper articles. Included are lesson plans for teachers. The projects also feature several hundred essays about important issues, events, and people, some researched and written by undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Washington. The projects have registered nearly 12 million page views since 2010. More about the projects.



Here are more than 400 webpages of research reports, films, slideshows, map and document collections categorized by subject. Or search all 800 pages of the Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium sites




News coverage about Consortium projects

One of these projects helped change a state law and was cited in a landmark Supreme Court case. Click above to see some of the scores of newspaper articles, academic reviews, television and radio programs about the projects.

Staff and Contributors

Video Oral Histories: Browse our collection. Most are in streaming video format.

For teachers: Lesson plans for mmany grade levels

Original essays: Nearly 300 essays on important issues

Labor and Civil Rights photographs: A repository of more than 2000 photos and documents

Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project

The civil rights movement in Seattle started well before the celebrated struggles in the South in the 1950s and 1960s and the Seattle movement relied not just on African American activists but also Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. This site features video oral histories from more than 80 civil rights activists; hundreds of photos and documents; reports on dozens of organizations and campaigns; an extensive section on the history of "Segregated Seattle," including a database of racial restrictive housing covenants that are still to be found in deeds throughout the greater Seattle area.

Great Depression in Washington State Project

The Great Depression first shattered and then rebuilt the economy of Washington State, leaving it with roads, bridges, dams, and a new electric grid that set the stage for rapid industrial growth. It rearranged the state's politics, ending decades of Republican rule, setting up a powerful labor movement, a new Democratic Party, and a new set of political priorites. This project multimedia web project explores this important decade. Here you will find detailed accounts of issues, incidents, institutions, and people, along with hundreds of photographs, documents, and news articles from the period.

Mapping American Social Movements Project

Our newest project presents interactive maps showing the activist geography of dozens of social movements that have influenced American life and politics during the 20th century, including radical movements, Black freedom movements, Latinx movements, labor movements, women's movements, antiwar movements. More that 120 maps and charts in all.

Racial Restrictive Covenants Project - Washington State

The Racial Restrictive Covenants Project involves teams of researchers at the University of Washington and Eastern Washington University. We are working to identify and map racial restrictions buried in property records. These restrictions, known as racial covenants or racially-restrictive deeds, were used in most American communities to prevent people who were not white from buying or occupying property. This project is authorized by the state legislature under SHB 1335 (May 2021) and charged with identifying and mapping neighborhoods covered by racist deed provisions and restrictive covenants.

Mapping Washington Labor and Civil Rights History

Using the new tools of digital history, this project explores the dimensions of race, politics, and social movements in Washington State. Here are valuable resources for researchers, classrooms, and anyone interested in the past and present of labor and civil rights movements. We have developed detailed geographic data and maps showing the history of racial segregation in major cities, tracking the political history of leftwing and mainstream political parties, locating key locations in Seattle's labor history, and exploring key social movements, identitying locations where membership, activities, or other measures of support were concentrated.

Waterfront Workers History Project

The West Coast connects to the world through its ports. Ships have been the economic lifeblood of the West Coast since the early 19th century, and the ports where goods and people move from water to land and from land to water have keyed important parts of the the history of this region. This project explores this vital history, focusing first on the men and women who have worked in the ports, the inland waterways, the fisheries, canneries, and other waterfront industries of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. Strikes and struggles for workplace rights have been part of that history and waterfront workers have created some of the most influential labor unions anywhere, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

Antiwar and Radical History Project - Pacific Northwest

Antiwar movements have never been separate from movements for civil rights, union recognition, and social change. In the Pacific Northwest, labor unions and socialists played a large part in the movement against World War I, while civil rights activism paved the way for the growth of the antiwar movement during the Vietnam era. This project multimedia web project chronicles the rich history of antiwar activity in the Northwest with video oral histories, hundreds of photographs and documents, GI underground newspapers, movement biographies, and research reports.           

Seattle General Strike of 1919 Project

The Seattle General Strike of 1919 was the first city-wide strike anywhere in the United States to be proclaimed a "general strike." This project explores the strike and the early 20th century history of labor and radicalism in the state of Washington. Here you will find rare film footage, photographs, documents, political cartoons, and contemporary newspaper reports. In addition we explore the event and its historical background in nearly two dozen research essays. Topics include:  "African Americans and the Seattle Labor Movement," "Spying on Labor: The Seattle Minute Men," "The International Union of Timberworkers," "The University of Washington: Henry Suzzallo and the General Strike,"  "The IWW in the General Strike,"  and others.

Communism in Washington State History and Memory Project

Communism made a larger impact on Washington than almost any other state. "There are forty-seven states in the Union, and the Soviet of Washington," Postmaster General James Farley joked in 1936. The remark, for all its exaggeration, had some foundation. This project explores the controversial history of the Communist Party in the Pacific Northwest from 1919 to the present. Here you will find video oral histories with CP veterans, historical essays covering each decade of Communist activities, more than 200 photographs, political cartoons, and newspaper headlines, a Who's Who, and an historical timeline.

IWW History Project--The Industrial Workers of the World 1905-1935

This project explores the history of the IWW in its first three decades. We have compiled a database of hundreds of strikes, campaigns, arrests, and other incidents involving IWW members and present this information both yearbook format and in elaborate interactive maps. Here you will also find accounts of important events and a wealth of photographs and documents.

Upton Sinclair's End Poverty in California Campaign

Upton Sinclair's 1934 campaign for governor of California has been called "the Campaign of the Century." One of the most dramatic and influential contests in that state's history, it helped change the political landscape of the nation. This project explores the campaign and the End Poverty in California (EPIC) program that captured international attention in 1934.

Strikes! Labor History Encyclopedia for the Pacific Northwest

This project assembles the most extensive online collection of materials about labor history for this, or any other, region. Here you will find detailed information and primary sources about key historical events, including the Seattle General Strike of 1919, the unemployed movements and labor crusades of the 1930s, farmworker campaigns from the 1930s to 1980s, timber worker unions, waterfront strikes, Filipino cannery worker unions, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the history-making WTO confrontation of 1999.

Labor Press Project

Labor media has been a critical part of American labor movements since the early 19th century and an equally critical part of the history of American journalism. This project brings together information about the history and ongoing influence of newspapers and periodicals published by unions, labor councils, and radical organizations in the Pacific Northwest. Here you will find facsimile images from and detailed historical reports over 30  historical and contemporary labor newspapers including the Seattle Union Record, The Industrial Worker, The Socialist, The AgitatorVoice of Action, Portland Labor Press, Philippine-American Chronicle, Washington Teamster,  and The Timber Worker, just to name a few.

America's Great Migrations

This project explores a number of consequential migrations--Great Migrations--that helped reshape culture, politics, or economic structures. It has five units, each with detailed information and interactive maps, charts, and data: (1) the migration of African Americans out of the South 1900-2000; (2) the enormously consequential migrations of Latinx Americans, both from Latin America and inside the US 1850-2017; (3) the diaspora of whites from the South to northern and western states; (4) the Dust Bowl migration to California from Oklahoma and neighboring states in the 1930s. (5) In addition, we provide migration histories for all fifty states showing decade-by-decade from 1850-2017 where residents have come from.