- US History Lessons
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- U.S. History Primary Source Resources
- Geography Jokes for Teachers
- American Revolution Jokes
- Top U.S. History Jokes
- Social Studies Jokes
- ICivics Lessons
When studying race relations in the 1970s, 1977 Pulitzer Prize photograph, Soiling Old Glory is a great primary source. The desegregation busing resulted in serious tension in Boston and this photograph captures the divide. The use of the American flag by one citizen to assault another citizen is shocking.
Before Viewing the Photograph
Making a slideshow is a great way to present this source. To start a class discussion, a teacher could create some prompts around the flag.
- Describe what the American Flag means to you. What values do you feel it represents the most?
- How has the flag (or national anthem) been used to protest perceived injustices in America? If possible, identify the injustice and the indivuldual or groups involved in the protest.
Viewing the Photograph
The Library of Congress has developed a guide to analyze photographs and prints. The following is taken from the guide.
OBSERVE: Have students identify and note details.
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What, if any, words do you see?
- What other details can you see?
REFLECT Encourage students to generate and test hypotheses about the image.
- Why do you think this image was made?
- What’s happening in the image?
- When do you think IIn was made?
- Who do you think was the audience for this image?
- What tools were used to create this?
- What can you learn from examining this image?
- What’s missing from this image?
- If someone made this today, what would be different?
- What would be the same?
QUESTION: Have students ask questions to lead to more observations and reflections.
- What do you wonder about… who? what? when? where?
To put the event in historical perspective, students can look at the words of the victim, Ted Landsmark, the agressor, Joseph Rakes, and the photographers, Stanley J. Forman. A teacher could even use both resources. A teacher can stop the interview at certain points to have a discussion. As always a teacher could create a worksheet to compliment the verbal and written interviews.
NPR Interview September 18, 2016 (9:25) Life After Iconic 1976 Photo: The American Flag’s Role In Racial Protest: This is a great interview Ted Landsmark and Stanley J. Forman. It is only 9 minutes long. Students seem to focus well.
Stars and Strife by Celia Wren April 2006 “A clash of cultures at Boston’s City Hall in 1976 symbolized the city’s years-long confrontation with the busing of schoolchildren.” This is a great article because Joseph Rakes, the agressor adds his reflection to those of Ted Landsmark and Stanley Forman.
The Smithsonian has developed a great lesson on the resistance to school desegregation.