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Puerto Rican Needleworkers in a Factory, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1942
Teaching

Short Teaching Module: Portraying Women Workers: Beyond Norma Rae

Starting at the turn of the twentieth century, U.S. and insular government offices and textile and garment businesses incorporated women of the New South and Puerto Rico into manufacturing in distinct yet interrelated ways.

Sally Fields in the film Norma Rae (1979)
Source

Norma Rae: Depicting Women's Labor History through Film

In this still shot from the movie Norma Rae, two pretty and petite white actors represent southern mill hands. Norma, portrayed by the famous actress Sally Field, stands with her mother (Barbara Baxley).

Puerto Rican Needleworkers in a Factory, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1942
Source

Puerto Rican Needleworkers in a Factory, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1942

This government photograph provides an important contrast to the popular culture images of poor southern whites. During the 1940s and 1950s, U.S. government agencies hired photographers to travel the main island of Puerto Rico to capture the conditions of working people.

An image of Elisabeth Chapman's quilted bedcover. The quilt is pieced together using multiple patterned fabrics.
Source

Quilted bedcover of Elisabeth Chapman

This quilted bed cover was likely made for the marriage of John and Elisabeth Chapman on September 19, 1829.

A detail of the Love Letter, showing two women. One holds a letter while the other stands next to her.
Source

The Love Letter by Jan Vermeer

Painted in the last phase of his career, Dutch artist Jan Vermeer’s The Love Letter is a work of oil on canvas that depict

The label on a vinyl copy of Strange Fruit. Circular label is red with Commodore: classics in swing at the top and the title Strange Fruit.
Source

"Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday (1939)

Based on a poem by Abel Meeropol published in January 1937, “Strange Fruit” was a song protesting the lynching of African America

A woodblock print from a scene in the Tale of Genji depicting a women looking down at a man from a balcony. Black ink on cream background.
Source

Yamamoto Shunshō’s The Tale of Genji

Largely considered the first novel, The Tale of Genji was written by Murasaki Shikibu, a noblewoman and lady-in-waiting du

A newspaper article titled big business banishes the flapper. On the left is a woman dressed as a flapper, and on the right is a woman dressed modestly in black.
Source

“Big Business Banishes the Flapper"

The “flapper” craze overtook the western world in the early 1920s and was spearheaded by young women intent on bucking cultural n

A image of a kasai velvet textile, woven in a diamond pattern in cream and black
Source

Kasai Velvet, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Despite its name, Kasai velvet, or velours du kasai, is not actually a velvet.

A woodblock print of Tomoe Gozen dressed in samurai armor, seated on a horse
Source

Tomoe Gozen

Tomoe Gozen was a Japanese female samurai that lived during the late twelfth century, or late Heian period, in Japan.