Golden Lands, Working Hands

Film. By Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. 1999. 170 minutes.
Ten-part film series brings the hidden history of working people in California to light, from the Gold Rush through the present.

Time Periods: All US History
Themes: Labor, Organizing

Golden Lands Working HandsGolden Lands, Working Hands, a ten-part, three hour film series, introduces students, union members and the general public to California labor history in order to encourage understanding of the state’s diverse working populations and their efforts to find common ground in struggles for social justice. It is meant to be shown one part at a time in conjunction with reading materials and lesson plans suitable for high school students, and for union members in new member programs.

This film explores stories selected from more than a century and a half of struggle. Central themes examined by the video are the choices made by working people in the creation of their own organizations, and the consequences of these choices for improvement of working people’s lives. Close attention is also paid to the ongoing recomposition of the California working class through immigration, beginning with the Gold Rush and continuing to the present day.

goldenMuch of this history has been unearthed through scholarship. But Golden Lands, Working Hands makes these ideas accessible to a broader audience. Golden Lands conveys a picture of working people of diverse backgrounds and cultures who have, at crucial moments, overcome social barriers to achieve lives of common dignity in California. [Description from film’s website.]

Directed, written and edited by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers.

Three hours total on two DVDs, with CD of lesson plans, student activities, readings and handouts. The award-winning series has been seen on public television and in museum exhibits, in high school and college classrooms and in union halls.

Produced and Distributed by the California Federation of Teachers’ Labor in the Schools Committee.

Watch Disc 1

Labor history and organizing curriculum from CFT.

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