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Enduring Images Captured the Conscience of the Nation

Written by Maureen Costello on 31 March 2010.

A powerful collection of Civil Rights-era photographs is on display now through August 2010 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. If you can’t organize a class trip to the museum, consider taking your students on a virtual tour of the era.

But don’t stop with just a tour. Offer students a way to analyze the photos so they can build skills while learning about the modern American Civil Rights Movement.

The photos vividly illustrate how individuals, acting alone or in concert, can bring about change. Image after image shows people marching, praying and fighting for justice. And behind each image is a photographer who captured the nation’s conscience.

Here are some basics to tackle when using photos in class. Ask kids to describe what they see—people, objects, actions. Can they tell where or when a photo was taken? How do they feel as they view each photo? What isn’t seen but can be inferred? What questions does a particular photo raise about justice and equality today?

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