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A History of Equal Rights in America

A History of Equal Rights in America recounts the significant advances and the ongoing effort to gain a clear and permanent guarantee of privileges for women and all economically disadvantaged groups. From the right to own property, to the formation of labor unions, women's suffrage, consumer rights, equal pay, Title IX and the Disabilities Act. This series includes key historical individuals such as: Susan B. Anthony, Horace Mann, Mary Lyon, Juana Briones, Betty Friedan, Madeleine Albright and more.
  • Title ID 70-ERA
  • History, American History, Political Science, Constitutional History, U.S. Government, Social Studies, Minority Achievement
  • 8 Programs
  • 28 Supplemental Files
  • 10th Grade through Post Secondary
  • Published by Ambrose Video Publishing Inc./Centre Communications
Included Programs
Supplemental Files

Included Programs

1772 - 1837Running time is 27 minutes

In Program 1 students will learn how the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and universal education create the foundation for equal rights in America.

Chapter List
1772 - Samuel Adams Pens The Rights of the Colonists
Samuel Adams wrote the Rights of the Colonists, a pamphlet not only detailing the rights of colonial America but emphasizing the rights that would eventually lead to the American Revolution.
1776 - America's Declaration of Independence Sets the Stage for Equality
The Declaration of Independence, which started the American Revolution and would become the foundation for the U.S. constitution while establishing the country's Independence Day, was written by Thomas Jefferson, as a fundamental doctrine of civil rights and was signed on July 4th.
1785 - Congress Extends Property Ownership to the Common Man
The Continental Congress enacted the Land Ordinance Acts for the Old Northwest Territory, acts that were based on similar acts proposed by Thomas Jefferson in Virginia.
1791 - The Bill of Rights is Ratified
The Bill of Rights, central to American democracy, was written by James Madison as a Declaration of Human Rights to protect, civil rights - the civil liberties of the people.
1837 - Horace Mann Leads the Way for Universal Education
Horace Mann, Father of America's Public School System, saw that universal education was a way to educate all Americans to understand their civil rights, but universal education did have its problems such as integration of minorities into public school systems, which was finally made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.

1837 - 1862 Running time is 28 minutes

In Program 2 students will learn how American women launched the world's first equal rights movement, while Blacks built their own universities for equality in education.

Chapter List
1837 - Mary Lyon Leads the Fight for Equality in Education
Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke, the first Women's College, and the first of the colleges known as the Seven Sisters, beginning the march of women toward full women's rights.
1843 - Juana Briones Establishes Women's Property Rights
Juana Briones founded San Francisco, California.
1848 - New York Passes the First Married Women's Property Act
Property ownership was essential was essential for women's rights, and through the efforts of Ernestine Rose and Elizabeth Cady Stanton New York women were the first in the nation to gain the right to own property through the New York Women's Property Act.
1849 - Amelia Bloomer Founds The Lily
Amelia Bloomer published The Lily, a magazine devoted to the women's rights movement led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
1854 - Blacks Begin the Struggle for Equality in Education
Lincoln University was a Black institution that graduated Black leaders such as Thurgood Marshall and Langston Hughes
1862 - Homestead Act Opens Up Property Rights for Women
Homestead Act, passed during the Civil War, gave homesteaders, pioneers and settlers a chance to settle the west but it also gave women the right to own property and thereby increased women's rights.

1863 - 1902 Running time is 27 minutes

In Program 3 students will learn about the nation's first Equal Rights Association while Blacks and labor struggled to obtain equality.

Chapter List
1866 - American Equal Rights Association is Founded
The American Equal Rights Association was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton with help from Frederick Douglass, Lucy Stone and Sojourner Truth with the idea of extending equal rights to all Americans.
1872 - Susan B. Anthony Found Guilty of Voting
Susan B. Anthony, a leader of women's rights and civil rights, was a co-founder of the National Women's Suffrage Movement with long time friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
1878 - Blacks Disprove the Myth of Their Inferiority
After emancipation black men such as Nat Love and Bass Reeves went west where they became cowboys and lawmen, and later, Black cowboy, George McJunkin discovered the Folsom point.
1886 - Samuel Gompers is Elected First President of the American Federation of Labor
Samuel Gompers founded the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, later changed to the American Federation of Labor, labor, also known as the AFL, to help America's working man, and in doing so helped to create America's middle class.
1902 - 140,000 Mine Workers Go Out on Strike
The United Mine Workers and mine owners met with President Theodore Roosevelt, giving labor unions a boost in recognition and legitimacy.

1903 - 1935 Running time is 27 minutes

In Program 4 students will learn how equal Rights were extended to women, Jewish Americans, poor, elderly, unemployed, workers, Blacks and other minorities in the 20th century.

Chapter List
1912 - Juliette Gordon Low Founds the Girl Scouts of America
Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts and was one of America's women pioneers of women rights.
1916 - Louis Brandeis is the Champion of the Common Man
Louis Brandeis, a lawyer for the common man was also a leader of the American Zionist movement and the first Jewish American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, opening the door for other Jewish Americans such as, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur J. Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
1920 - Women Gain the Right to Vote
The 19th Amendment allowed women to gain the right to vote, a right fought for by suffragettes first led by Susan B. Anthony in the 19th century.
1935 -Social Security Extends a Safety Net to the Unemployed, the Elderly, and the Poor
During the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt created Social Security for all Americans though the Social Security Act, which provided a safety net for dependent children, elderly and the poor.
1935 - Mary McLeod Bethune: American Woman of the 20th Century
Mary McLeod Bethune, a member of FDR's Black Cabinet, founded Bethune Cookman College and the National Council of Negro Women, which allied with the NAACP to promote Civil Rights.

1936 - 1963 Running time is 27 minutes

In Program 5 students will learn how women, Blacks, Jews and the poor pushed for equality in education and the workplace

Chapter List
1939 - The U. S. Food Stamp Program is Enacted
Food Stamps, provided by the Food Stamp Program, were begun during the Great Depression under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to help the poor; and now in the 21st century it is known as SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
1948--Brandeis University is Founded
Boston's Brandeis University was named after U.S. Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis, as a way to fight anti-Semitism.
1954 - Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education, reestablished civil rights lost in Plessey V. Ferguson, which allowed Jim Crow laws, but black lawyer Thurgood Marshal led the fight for desegregation which was upheld by the Earl Warren court.
1963 - Betty Friedan Launches the New Women's Movement
Betty Friedan a leader of the women's movement, wrote The Feminine Mystique, a voice for women's rights and civil rights and co-founded The National Organization for Women, while Gloria Steinem founded Ms. Magazine and Bella Abzug became a U.S. Representative.
1963 - Equal Pay Act Establishes Equal Pay for Equal Work
With the Age of Industrialization and then following WWII, symbolized by Rosie the Riveter women employees began entering the workforce in larger numbers, but faced discrimination by employers with lower wages; but President John F. Kennedy formed the Commission on the Status of Women led by Eleanor Roosevelt which led to the Equal Pay Act and the idea of equal pay for equal work, later made stronger through three events - Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Company, Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, and t

1964 - 1970 Running time is 27 minutes

In Program 6 students will learn how equal rights would be broadened to include consumer rights, health care for elderly and poor, gay Rights and workplace and safety.

Chapter List
1965 - Ralph Nader Begins the Modern Day Consumer Rights Movement
Ralph Nader, who wrote Unsafe at Any Speed, is a consumer rights advocate who with his followers, Naders raiders, began the country's push for consumer safety in products.
1965 - Medicare Launches the Modern Health Care Movement
The single payer system of Medicare, advocated by President Eisenhower and his Conference on Aging, then signed into law by Lyndon Johnson, provided healthcare to minorities, seniors and the elderly, Gays, disabled, and women, and was a change in the providing of healthcare to Americans that had begun during the Industrial Revolution when industry and labor unions put the onus of healthcare on business owners healthcare.
1969 - Stonewall Inn Riots Initiate the Gay Rights Movement
After the Stonewall in Riots in 1969, Gays and Lesbians began working for Gay rights which involved Gay Pride marches throughout many major American cities.
1970 -The Occupational Safety and Health Act is Enacted
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed into law by Richard Nixon, was a reaction to the unsafe working conditions that had occurred with the rapid industrialization of America in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and was a continuation of the change in the America's attitude that began in the Great Depression under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who signed into law the groundbreaking legislation the National Labor Relations Act.

1971 - 1973 Running time is 27 minutes

In Program 7 students will learn how In the 70s equal rights were extended to children, and how equal rights for women reached its peak with passage of Title IX and equality for female athletes and its lowest point with the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Chapter List
1972 - Congress Passes the Equal Employment Opportunity Act
The 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act took care of omissions in the 1965 Title VII Civil Rights Act, that banned discrimination in hiring by businesses by creating the EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that would guarantee Equal Employment.
1972 -Title IX and the Female Athlete
When Richard Nixon signed into law Title XI of the Education Amendments of 1972, it changed the face of athletics, by ending discrimination against women athletes and women's sports.
1972 - The Battle over the Equal Rights Amendment
ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment, was written by Alice Paul in 1923 as a way to insure women's rights in America.
1973 - The Children's Defense Fund Founded
At the founding of the country, children were considered property, but with the coming of the Industrial Revolution, children began to get rights over the next 150 years, first with the support of the American Federation of Labor, then with the National Child Labor Committee, then in a Supreme Court Case - Prince v. Massachusetts - Justice Wiley B. Rutledge, stated there are children's rights, and finally Marian Wright Edelman founded the Children's Defense Fund.

1973 - 2011 Running time is 29 minutes

In Program 8 students will learn how equal rights were extended to include abortion rights for women, expanded health and health care with patient rights, same-sex marriage for gays and lesbians, rights for disabled Americans, and in feminism, political rights for American women and a recognition of equality for all women around the world.

Chapter List
1973 - Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, the landmark case for woman's rights, involving Jane Roe who sued to get an abortion against DA Henry Wade, would pit Pro Life versus Pro Choice in a struggle over privacy rights that began with Griswold V. Connecticut.
1973 - The American Hospital Association Adopts the First Patient's Bill of Rights
The American Hospital Association, the AHA, created the first Patient's Bill of Rights, a natural extension of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and Medicare/Medicaid and would be part of health care reform in the 20th century that would lead to the Nursing Home Reform Act, Federal Emergency Medical Treatment Act, Patient Self-Determination Act, and the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
1990 - Americans with Disabilities Act Passes
The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act was put in place to give equality to disabled or differently abled persons.
1997 - Madeleine Albright Begins a New Era for Women in American Leadership
Madeleine Albright was one of the 20th century's women pioneers, and showed that women were becoming a force in leadership roles of government when appointed Secretary of State.
2004 - Massachusetts Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
Because of the decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in the case of Goodridge v Department of Public Health, Governor Mitt Romney signed into law an act that allowed Gays and Lesbians the legal right to marry, which like Don't ask Don't tell is extending them equality in the U.S.
2011 - The Third Wave of Feminism
In the 21st century, modern women are building on the first and second wave of feminism in a third wave that has opened doors in business and politics while allowing for women to also embrace traditional roles, and at the same time promoting women's rights world wide.

Supplemental Files

Amendments to the Constitution
The Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
American Hospital Association - A Patient's Bill of Rights
Text of the AHA's Patient's Bill of Rights
Americans with Disabilities Act
AnAct establishing the rights of disabled Americans
Blackline Master Quizzes for A History of Equal Rights in America
Teacher handout quizzes for A History of Equal Rights in America
Brown v Board of Education
1954 Supreme Court ruling ending the 'separate but equal' doctrine
Equal Pay Act of 1963
An act establishing equal pay for equal work performed by women employees
Equal Rights Amendment
Text of the Equal Rights Amendment that was passed by Congress but not ratified by the states
Homestead Act of 1862
An Act providing for the procedures for Homesteading in the United States
Land Ordinance Act of 1785
First Land Act that helped to establish the right of all men to buy land
MARC Records for ERA
MARC records for the series A History of Equal Rights in America
Northwest Ordinance 1787
The second land act that helped to establish the right of all men to buy land
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
Act for safety and welfare for American workers
Roe V. Wade
1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion
Samuel Adams - Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men
The text of Samuel Adams 1772 essay on the rights of the AMerican colonists
Social Security Act of 1935
The first Act by the government to protect the welfare of U.S. citizens
Teacher's Guide for A History of EqualRights in America
Teacher's Guide for A History of Equal Rights in America
The Bill of Rights
The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Consitution
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence
The U.S. Constitution
The U.S. Constitution
Title IX - Education Amendments of 1972
An Act that established equality in women's college sports with men's college sports
Transcription for 1772 - 1837
Transcription for 1837 - 1862
Transcription for 1863 - 1902
Transcription for 1903 - 1935
Transcription for 1936 - 1963
Transcription for 1964 - 1970
Transcription for 1971 - 1973
Transcription for 1973 - 2011