A boy climbs aboard a rickety boat and travels back in time one hundred years to the Industrial Revolution where he suffers at the hand of his bosses. Meanwhile, his half-brother, frantically looking for him in the 20th century, comes across his brother's name in the history books where he had testified to the brutal conditions under which he has been forced to live.
Back in the 1930s and 1940s, the trains took everybody everywhere in Pullman sleeping cars. The people who looked after the passengers were called porters. They were mostly black, and they formed their own union to fight against unfair working conditions. This book tells, in their own words and photos, the story of how they won their fight for justice.
Randolph, one of the brains of the Harlem Renaissance, was determined that African-American workers should share the rights that the labor unions had fought so hard for, despite their history of excluding his people. This was a hard fight, but, in the end, the labor unions became strong and integrated.
The copper mines in Michigan were dangerous, and the men who worked there toiled for long hours and made very little money. Annie Clemenc, a miner's wife, marched against these conditions even when the mining company resorted to violence.
All Ruth wants to do is fit in with her new American friends, but her Russian mother is such an embarrassment! She keeps talking about joining a labor union, something that no one from a good family would do.
Thousands of families looking for work and a better life came to settle in 1930s California, but the town people wanted nothing to do with them and refused to let their children attend the same school as the "Okies" from Oklahoma. The Arvin Federal Emergency School was created to give these unwanted kids a chance to learn.
Beautiful Esperanza has grown up in luxury at her father's ranch, but when her father dies as the Great Depression strikes Mexico, she and her sick mother must leave their home to go to work in the labor camps of Southern California.