life, allowing ordinary people to take an active role in advocating for better treat- ment in society. American Indians, of course, were not the only ethnic group to take action to defend their cultural heritage and to fight for the rights they should have been rightfully accorded in American society. Slave rebellions were also among the ear- liest collective actions against the imposition of racial power. Africans and African Americans naturally found slave life intolerable, and resisted their situations in many ways. Some acted as individuals, slowing their work or breaking the machines used in their labor. Occasionally, armed insurrection was a more attrac- tive, more immediate alternative. Sometimes, it was all the people had left. Many examples can be cited: the Stono Rebellion in 1739, the New York Slave Insurrec- tion in 1741, Gabriel Prosser’s Virginia Uprising in 1799, Charles Deslondes’s German Coast Uprising in 1811, the abortive effort of white abolitionist George Boxley to spark an insurrection in 1815, and Denmark Vesey’s uprising in 1822. All these actions caused Americans, especially southerners, to be extremely vigi- lant and watchful over their slaves’ actions. But none of these incidents had the society-wide impact of Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831. In its aftermath, vigilance committees roamed the South, looking out for possible insurrections. Largely because of this, John Brown’s takeover of the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry in 1859 with the goal of sparking a large-scale slave insurrection scared white south- erners to such a degree as to make it one of the factors that contributed to the onset of the Civil War two years later. Even after slavery ended in 1865, African Americans and Americans of many other minority groups had to take action to have their constitutional and other social rights recognized by mainstream American society. Women began to advo- cate for voting rights in the 1830s, with their movement really gaining momentum by the 1870s. Hispanic Americans included African Americans and members of other marginalized groups in the Plan de San Diego in 1915. The Zoot Suit Riot in 1942 showed that even though Mexican Americans were serving in the military during World War II, they still were not viewed as equal partners in American society. Of course, the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s– 1960s is one of the most notable examples of the creation of a large-scale move- ment to achieve some significant changes. It became the model for many other later movements, such as the Red Power Movement, the Chicano Movement, and the Feminist Movement. But even though the Civil Rights Movement achieved important things in terms of expanding the constitutional rights of all Americans, it did not address all the issues, such as the economic and social aspects of life that many people saw as important. As such, the Civil Rights Move- ment spawned other protests, such as the Watts Riots in 1965, the Detroit Riots in Introduction xxiii
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