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Daniel Stetson

Unit Title:
Content of Their Character: Using Art to Understand the Civil Rights Movement

Standard(s) and/or Indicator(s):

8-7.2 Analyze the movement for civil rights in South Carolina, including the impact of the
landmark court cases Elmore v. Rice and Briggs v. Elliot; civil rights leaders Septima
Poinsette Clark, Modjeska Monteith Simkins, and Matthew J. Perry; the South Carolina
school equalization effort and other resistance to school integration; peaceful efforts to
integrate beginning with colleges and demonstrations in South Carolina such as the
Friendship Nine and the Orangeburg Massacre.
SC Visual Arts: Grade 8, Standard 4: The student will understand the visual arts in
relation to history and world cultures and the technologies, tools, and materials used by
artists.
SC Visual Arts: Grade 8, Standard 6: The student will make connections between the
visual arts and other arts disciplines, other content areas, and the world.

Essential Question(s):
What ways does the related historical context change the way you view and
interpret this artwork?
What can art add to the story of the Civil Rights Movement that a textbook cannot
provide?
What were the major goals of the Civil Rights Movement and how were they
achieved?

Prior Knowledge:

3-5.5 Summarize the development of economic, political, and social opportunities of


African Americans in South Carolina, including the end of Jim Crow laws; the
desegregation of schools (Briggs v. Elliott) and other public facilities; and efforts of
African Americans to achieve the right to vote.
5-5.3 Explain the advancement of the modern Civil Rights Movement; including the
desegregation of the armed forces, Brown v. Board of Education, the roles of Rosa
Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Civil Rights acts, and the Voting Rights
Act.
Instructional Strategies:
This lesson will require students to not only interpret art, but also interpret history
and the role the art played. By using what they have learned in class to make
observations about the artwork, students can demonstrate their ability to connect
historical events with artistic expression.
The questions assigned to students should also require them to consider the idea
of context. Students should try to better understand art and expression with a
strong understanding of the context in which it was created.
This example of project based learning allows students to engage with material
and apply what they have learned, instead of simply regurgitating names and
dates.

Assessment:
Students analysis of their assigned artwork will require them to apply what they
have learned about the Civil Rights Movement. Questions will prompt them to
make connections to specific events, court cases, and leaders. Additionally, the
group discussion will allow the teacher to gauge whether students are sufficiently
making these connections.
This lesson provides ample opportunities to modify the lesson in order to
accommodate different learning styles and abilities. For example, students with
reading difficulties can be assigned artwork that is accompanied by a video or
song, instead of text. Also, this lesson plan is designed for students to work in
groups during class time and discuss their findings at the end of class. Advanced
classes may be able to complete this assignment at home and present to the
class. The teacher should facilitate discussion among students during class time
to gauge their understanding and insure that they are making connections to the
standards and indicators.

Resources:

Dissenting Opinion from Harry Briggs, Jr., et al. v. R. W. Elliott, Chairman, et al.

Felder, James L. Civil Rights in South Carolina: From Peaceful Protests to


Groundbreaking Rulings. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2012.

Jonathan Green painting commemorates Civil Rights role of Judge J. Waties Waring.
(2014). Retrieved November 13, 2016, from http://kasselmcvey.com/jonathan-green-
painting-commemorates-event-judge-j-waties-waring/

King, M. L. (1986). A testament of hope: The essential writings and speechesof Martin
Luther King, Jr. (J. M. Washington, Ed.). San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Norman Rockwell Museum. (2015, December 9). Painting Tour: "New Kids in the
Neighborhood" (1967). Retrieved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA7A7lciQGo.
Norman Rockwell Museum. (2015, December 9). Painting Tour: "The Problem We All
Have" (1967). Retrieved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4Trz-ijBYg.

Smith, B. (2014, April 5). SC judge who first wrote 'separate is not equal' lauded.
Retrieved November 13, 2016, from http://www.thestate.com/news/local/civil-
rights/article13846124.html

Struggles of Desegregation in David Hammons' "The Door (Admissions Office)" (2015).


Retrieved November 13, 2016, from http://witnessvoices.blantonmuseum.org/qadri/

The Gamecock. (Columbia, S.C.), 13 Sept. 1963. Chronicling America: Historic


American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. http://www.sc-
newspapers.sc.edu/lccn/2012218660/1963-09-13/ed-1/seq-2/

Turquety, D. (2012, December 10). William H. Johnson's "Training for War": Time for
Action | Indianapolis Museum of Art Blog. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from
http://www.imamuseum.org/blog/2012/12/10/william-h-johnsons-training-for-war-time-
for-action/

Youth and Violence in Jacob Lawrence's "Soldiers and Students" (2015). Retrieved
November 13, 2016, from http://witnessvoices.blantonmuseum.org/geetikarao/
Soldiers and Students by Jacob Lawrence

Before reading anything about your piece of art, describe what you see in the
piece. What emotions are conveyed? What historical events do you think are
being shown?
Learn more: http://witnessvoices.blantonmuseum.org/geetikarao/
What historical events led up to the scene in the painting? Describe relevant
court cases and historical figures that contributed to school integration.
When was this painted? Do you think this piece of art is a form of protest, a form
of history, or a mix of both? Use visual cues from the painting and Civil Rights
information from the textbook to support your answer.
Primary Source:
Read this selection of Judge Warings dissenting opinion in Briggs v. Elliott.
Explain what Judge Waring means when he says that earlier decisions have
pruned away only the noxious fruits. What decisions is he referencing and what
does he suggest should be done?
New Kids in the Neighborhood by Norman Rockwell

Before reading anything about your piece of art, describe what you see in the
piece. What emotions are conveyed? What historical events do you think are
being shown?
Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA7A7lciQGo
After watching the video, explain the ways that Rockwell uses visual cues to
make powerful statements. In what ways does this painting represent success of
the Civil Rights Movement? Support your answer by describing goals of the Civil
Rights Movement and how they are represented in the painting.
Norman Rockwell was one of the most well known artists of the 1960s. How do
you think his art may have impacted the Civil Rights Movement?
Primary Source:
Read Jack Stars article, Negro in the Suburbs, that accompanied Rockwells
painting in Look Magazine. How does the article support the message of
Rockwells art?
The Door by David Hammons

Before reading anything about your piece of art, describe what you see in the
piece. What emotions are conveyed? What historical events do you think are
being shown?
Learn more: http://witnessvoices.blantonmuseum.org/qadri/
This piece of art is made from an actual door. What do you think this type of
sculpture can show that a painting could not? Explain the message that
Hammons conveys through his art.
Why do you think school integration was so important for the Civil Rights
Movement? Why do you think white America was so resistant to it?

Primary Source:
Read this page of the University of South Carolina student newspaper from 1963.
What feelings do these student columnists have about integration? What
previous events of the Civil Rights Movement are referenced and how do they
apply to USC?
Breath of Freedom by Jonathan Green

Before reading anything about your piece of art, describe what you see in the
piece. What emotions are conveyed? What historical events do you think are
being shown?
Learn more: http://kasselmcvey.com/jonathan-green-painting-commemorates-
event-judge-j-waties-waring/
http://www.thestate.com/news/local/civil-rights/article13846124.html
Why do you think it took so long for South Carolina to recognize Judge Warings
contributions to the Civil Rights Movement?
Jonathan Green grew up in South Carolina during the 1960s, but did not paint
Breath of Freedom until 2013. How do you think creating this art so many years
later may have impacted his interpretation of the event?
Primary Source:
http://www.teachingushistory.org/tTrove/documents/BriggsvElliottPDF.pdf
Read the original petition submitted that helped begin Briggs v. Elliott. What
complaints do they make on the condition of their school? What changes do they
want to see? How would you describe the tone of the petition?
Training for War by William H. Johnson

Before reading anything about your piece of art, describe what you see in the
piece. What emotions are conveyed? What historical events do you think are
being shown?
Learn more: http://www.imamuseum.org/blog/2012/12/10/william-h-johnsons-
training-for-war-time-for-action/
Johnson depicts African Americans military training during World War II. What
impact did African Americans role in World War II have on the Civil Rights
Movement?
Some art critics wrongly labeled Johnsons work as primitive. What role do you
think racial prejudice played into their criticisms and what other examples have
we seen of racial prejudice?
Primary Source:
Uncle Sam Says (1939) by Josh White
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDOksxkIfLg
Listen to Josh Whites 1939 song, Uncle Sam Says. What story do the lyrics tell
and how do you think it relates to Johnsons painting.
The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell

Before reading anything about your piece of art, describe what you see in the
piece. What emotions are conveyed? What historical events do you think are
being shown?
Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4Trz-ijBYg
After watching the video, explain the ways that Rockwell uses visual cues to
make powerful statements. In what ways does this painting represent success of
the Civil Rights Movement? Support your answer by describing goals of the Civil
Rights Movement and how they are represented in the painting.
Norman Rockwell was one of the most well known artists of the 1960s. How do
you think his art may have impacted the Civil Rights Movement?
Primary Source:
Read The Ethical Demands for Integration from a Martin Luther King, Jr.
speech. Why does King say that it is important to integrate schools? In what
ways does he connect democracy with the need for integration?