Final Project

The Great Migration Stories of Ida Mae, George and Robert Translated through the Lens of Photography

Hospital Segregation,

Hospital Segregation, D.C., 1950s

Sharecropper

Sharecropper and Manager in the South 1870s

Detroit Race Riots, 1943

Introduction

For the final in this course, I read Isabel Wilkerson’s comprehensive oral history tome, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, written in 2010. Her rich narrative intertwines personal interviews with southern emigrants Ida Mae Gladney, George Swanson Starling and Robert Pershing Foster, and charts the course of their lives as they move from the South to the North for similar economic, political and social reasons. Interspersed with these accounts is the background of historical facts, causes and effects of the Migration on people and institutions of the North.

As part of an inquiry lesson in a unit on Immigration (or also Civil Rights) for 9-12 graders, this would serve as an activity in the middle of the unit (for about three class periods of fifty minutes each), where students can explore further content using the skill of asking supporting questions to build upon the compelling ones, given by the teacher. Students will use three case studies of the people mentioned above, along with images, providing a visual example for them to create further research and choose a new image to generate more questions, while answering at least one.

Compelling Question: What were some causes and effects of the movement of people in the Great Migration from South to North?

Supporting Questions: How did the influx of Great Migration Blacks from the South to Detroit affect the 1943 race riots and what were these about? How did segregation affect people’s economic, political and social lives? What was the economic phenomenon of sharecropping and why did it cause people to move from the South

Rationale

Through the use of the Iowa Core Social Studies State Standards and the C3 Framework,
using inquiry, this activity addresses how students can create more questions to further their
investigations by using visual images as primary sources. The standards themselves provide a
content and concept-based scaffold to help guide students’ investigations into three case studies of first-hand accounts of people in the Great Migration. Images are able to pique curiosity and ambiguity that can propel further research, specifically, when using case studies to ask and answer supporting questions (Sheridan Center, 2019). The C3 Framework emphasizes that students need to first focus on a societal problem, ask questions to frame their explorations, then communicate their conclusions.

Visual literacy is an integral skill needed in today’s digital world and is supported by literacy standards as being essential to understanding texts (Finley, 2014). We are bombarded by photography, memes, cartoons, artwork, slideshows, signs and videos at every turn. Students need to be able to traverse this terrain in order to decipher and interpret meaning and communicate through images, part of 21st century skills.

The principles of artistic interpretation, such as put forth by Terry Barrett (1994), mesh well with the methods of social studies as a discipline because they ask the viewer to find evidence or clues within the image and make an argument for the interpretation based on what is seen in the work to support it, so it’s not about opinions, although that might form the start of the inquiry; it’s about making a claim and building a foundation for it. These claims can be fairly subjective in the beginning, allowing for student creativity and multiple points of view in determining what the image is saying. As he states, “Interpretations are not so much absolutely right, but more or less reasonable, convincing, enlightening, and
informative” (Barrett, 1994, p. 10).

Students are also provided choice in the images that they select to research and generate more questions about as they proceed. This encourages them to use creativity to find images that might be personally relevant to them in some way and increases their motivation in examining case studies (Gedeon, 2019).

Finally, for an assessment tool, students will exhibit their learning through a Google doc as an artifact of their research. They will record their investigations by showing the supporting questions that they used to guide further research, as well as explain their interpretations of other images and sources that they found online. The extra images that they have found will be compiled in a shared Google doc that the teacher creates, so that they group can jigsaw and discuss what they have learned in a group discussion.

Standards & Objectives

Standards
SS-Geo.9-12.20. Geography: Analyze Human Population Movements and Patterns. Assess the impact of economic activities and political decisions on urban, suburban, and rural regions.

 SS-US.9-12.18. U.S. History: Analyze Human Population Movements and Patterns. Analyze the effects of urbanization, segregation, and voluntary and forced migration within regions of the U.S. on social, political, and economic structures.

C3 Framework: D1.4.9-12 & Iowa Core SS.9-12.2. Inquiry: Constructing Supporting Questions. Develop and explain how supporting questions that contribute to an inquiry and demonstrate how, through engaging source work, new compelling and supporting questions emerge.

Objectives:
TLW investigate how sharecropping affected a person’s desire to leave the South through a case study by examining images, developing supporting questions and answering one. SS-Geo.9-12.20, D1.4.9-12, SS.9-12.2.

TLW connect segregation with immigration and its effects on people through a case study and
looking at images, creating more questions and answering one. SS-US.9-12.18. D1.4.9-12,
SS.9-12.2.

TLW explore how the Great Migration affected the beginning of the Detroit Race Riots in 1943,
through a case study with images, generating more questions and answering one.
SS-US.9-12.18, D1.4.9-12, SS.9-12.2.

Excerpt & Primary Source 1: Segregation & Sharecropping (Politics & Economics)

Ide Mae Gladney

(p. 165-169 – Please see the pdf listed at the bottom of this post)

Sharecropper

Sharecropper and Manager in the South 1870s

 Fig. 1. 1870s in the South

Activity:

  1. In relation to Ida Mae’s information, describe the image above and answer the following questions in a Google doc: a) Who and what is shown in the picture? b) What is the image medium: a photo, painting, etc.? c) What does the image reveal about the economic or political conditions in the South in the 1870s?  d) What does it show about sharecropping and power relations?
  2. Write two questions you have about this image. Answer one using online sources.
  3. Find another image online that relates to Ida Mae’s experience in some way, such as the way she makes a living, segregation or threat of violence and add to your doc.
  4. Provide two additional questions for the image you’ve found and list its source (as a link) and explain why you think the source is credible.
  5. Answer one of your questions.

Excerpt & Primary Source 2: Detroit Race Riots, 1943, Economics in the North

George Swanson Starling

(p. 130-133–Please see the pdf listed at the bottom of this post)

Detroit Race Riots, 1943

Detroit Race Riots, 1943

Fig. 2. From The Atlantic, Detroit Race Riots, 1943.

Activity:

  1. Describe the image and answer the following questions in a Google doc:
  2. a) Who and what is shown in the picture? b) What is the image medium: a photo, painting, etc.? c) What does the image reveal about race relations in the Detroit Race Riots?
  3. Write two questions you have about this image. Answer one using an online source.
  4. Then 2 choices:  a) Find another image online that relates to George’s experience in some way, such as his trolley ride or working conditions. Add to your doc.
    OR  b) Compare the Watts Riots in Los Angeles (August, 1965) to the Detriot Riots in a
    visual comparison, finding a similarity or difference and write a couple of sentences
    about your image.
  5. Provide two additional questions for the image you’ve found and list its source (as a link) and explain why you think the source is credible.
  6. Answer one of your questions.

Excerpt & Primary Source 3: Segregation in Culture Politics & Culture

Robert Pershing Foster

(p. 173-175–Please see the pdf listed at the bottom of this post)

Hospital Segregation,

Hospital Segregation, D.C., 1950s

Fig. 3. A Veteran’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s.
Activity:

  1. Describe this image and answer the following questions: a) Who and what is shown in the picture? b) What is the image: a photo, painting, etc.? c) What does the image reveal about segregation in hospitals?
  2. Write two questions you have about this image. Answer one using an online source.
  3. Find another image online of segregation in a hospital, school, public building or cultural place such as a movie theater and add to a Google doc.
  4. Provide two additional questions for the image you’ve found and list its source (as a link) and explain why you think the source is credible.
  5. Answer one of your questions.

Excerpts from The Warmth of Other Suns, Wilkerson, 2010.

References

Barrett, T. (1994, September). Principles for interpreting art. Art Education. 47(5), 8-13.
Retrieved from http://www.jstor.com.

C3 Framework. (2010). National Council on the Social Studies. Retrieved from
https://www.socialstudies.org/sites/default/files/c3/C3-Framework-for-Social-Studies.pdf.

End of racial segregation in VA Hospitals. (2016, August 1.) Museum of the American Military
Family and Learning Center.
Image retrieved from
https://weservedtoo.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/end-of-racial-segregation-in-va-hospitals/.

Finley, T. (2014, February 19). Common core in action: 10 visual literacy strategies. Edutopia.
Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/ccia-10-visual-literacy-strategies-todd-
finley
.

Gedeon, J. (2019). What is project-based learning? Arch for Kids, LLC. Retrieved from
https://www.noodle.com/articles/what-is-project-based-learning

History of racial injustice: Racialized poverty-the legacy of slavery. (1870). Equal Justice
Initiative.
Image retrieved from https://eji.org/history-racial-injustice-racialized-poverty.

Interactive Classroom Activities. (2019). Sheridan Center, Brown University. Retrieved from
https://www.brown.edu/sheridan/teaching-learning-resources/teaching
resources/classroom-practices/active-learning/interactive.

Taylor, A. (2015, January 14). Detroit in the 1940s. Atlantic. Image
retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/01/detroit-in-the-1940s/384523/.

Wilkerson, I. (2010). The warmth of other suns: The epic story of America’s Great Migration.
New York, NY: Random House.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *