Teaching Students About the Date of the Pullman Strike


The Pullman Strike is a significant event in the history of American labor, and understanding its implications helps shed light on the broader narrative of workers’ rights movements in the United States. As a teacher, it is essential to effectively communicate to students the importance of this historical event and its relevance within the context of their educational journey. This article will provide insights on how to teach students about the Pullman Strike, its historical significance, and the related dates.

What was the Pullman Strike?

Before diving into teaching strategies, it is essential to understand the key aspects of the Pullman Strike. The strike occurred from May 11th to July 20th, 1894 and involved workers from the Pullman Company, a railway car manufacturer based in Chicago. Employees went on strike to protest wage cuts, poor working conditions, and unreasonable rent payments for company-owned housing.

Teaching Strategies for the Pullman Strike Date

Contextualize the Pullman Strike: Start by providing students with background information on labor unions and workers’ rights movements during the late 19th century. This context will help them understand why the Pullman Strike holds significance as a turning point for labor relations in America.

Connecting Past to Present: Encourage students to draw parallels between historical events like the Pullman Strike and current events that address issues such as income inequality and workers’ rights. This engagement will help them better grasp its importance as a relevant issue today.

Visual Aids: Utilize pictures, videos, and other multimedia resources to provide an engaging representation of life during this time period. Photos depicting worker’s living conditions or marches held during the strike will deepen comprehension while fostering critical thinking skills.

Interactive Timeline Activity: To emphasize important dates related to the Pullman Strike, create an interactive timeline activity that charts major events leading up to, during, and following the strike. This will give students a visual representation of the chronology and help them retain key dates more effectively.

Analyze Primary Sources: Provide students with primary source documents, such as George Pullman’s testimony during the strike, workers’ firsthand accounts, or newspaper articles from that time. Encourage them to analyze these sources critically and draw conclusions about the different perspectives involved in the event.

Role-Playing Activity: Organize a role-playing activity where students act out various positions related to the Pullman Strike, such as workers, company leaders, or federal government representatives. This exercise will help deepen their understanding while facilitating empathy with the different viewpoints.


Teaching students about the Pullman Strike and its importance within American history is not only an opportunity to explore a pivotal event but also a chance to examine broader themes such as labor rights and social justice. By incorporating multimedia resources, primary source analysis, interactive activities, and role-playing simulations, educators can create engaging lessons that deeply resonate with students and promote meaningful connections with historical material.

Choose your Reaction!