As we’ve been discovering through readings and lectures, the 1960s was an era defined by upheaval and protest. Photographs of large protests in the 1960s also loom large in our public memory, shaping how Americans remember the 1960s and envision effective protest. Rather than delving into written sources this week, we will take the opportunity to analyze some photographs of protest in the mid to late 1960s.
Your goal for this discussion board is to analyze a photo using its historical context and discuss what that photo reveals about the 1960s and the movement it represents. I know for many of you the photographs will remind you of what is going on in American today. While I welcome such reflection, discussing present-day connections is not the primary purpose of this discussion board post. First and foremost, your post must analyze the photo in its context and discuss what you learn about the 1960s. Any present day connections you want to reflect on can be included, but only in addition to comprehensive historical analysis.
Before posting, please make sure you have read the introduction to the assignment below, reviewed the week’s lecture, and have read parts one, three and four of Chapter 9 in Building the American Republic.This background information is required – you will have trouble fully understanding and analyzing the photographs without this information. If you would like to look online for more information about the photo, you are welcome to do so in this case. However, please make sure you use a reputable academic source! And please be sure to cite the source and include a link at the bottom of your post so your peers can also access your resource.
You should also refer back to the Analyzing Visual Sources page in the Week 0 Module. Hopefully you all remember Susan O’Donavan’s article and her detailed analysis of a historical photograph from the Civil War. While I do not expect you to provide the same level of detailed discussion as O’Donovan, this is an example of how you should be approaching image analysis and the kinds of conclusions you should be looking to draw.
All of the photographs below capture images of protest, but not all protestors were fighting for the same cause. The images are also listed in order by date, and not by cause. The Black Power Movement, Anti-War Movement, Free Speech Movement, and Chicano Movement are all represented in the included photographs. There is also one photograph of the Poor People’s Campaign – a movement started by Martin Luther King to end economic inequality. In addition, there is a photograph of someone denouncing anti-war protestors, and of Robert F. Kennedy in the aftermath of an urban riot. While the photo of Kennedy was not an image of protest in the traditional sense that people were gathered around with signs demanding a particular change, the urban uprisings that swept the nation were indeed a form of protest (as we have seen in recent times).
Instead of including a list of questions for each specific photograph, here is a list of questions you can use to analyze all of the photos below. You do not have to answer each of these questions in your post – use these questions as a jumping off point to get you thinking about your photo and what you might include in your post.
Who is depicted in the photo and what is happening in the picture?
When and were was the photo taken and what was the historical context of the image? You may need to look back at the lecture or Building American Republic reading for this week to help you.
What do you notice in the photo? Are there protest signs, and if so, what to they say and what can you learn from them? Other striking aspects to the photo?
What are the expressions on the peoples faces? What might this suggest about why they are doing what they are doing and/or their experience in the moment?
What does this photo reveal about this historical moment – both in terms of the moment of the photo and the late-1960s in general?
Please choose one image below to write about. If you click on the title you should be able to download a copy of the photo and then you can zoom in on the image for greater detail. Remember, the goal of this discussion board is to analyze the photo using historical context and then discuss what it reveals about the era.
Each initial post must be at least 300 words.
Each initial post must have a topic sentence typed at the top of the response. This topic sentence should give your classmates the “thesis” of your response, indicating which photo you are writing about and your interpretation of its historical significance. This is not a title for your response, and should not repeat the title of the photo. The words in the topic sentence do not count toward the 300 word total.
Each initial post should introduce your photo, its context and discuss your analysis of historical significance.
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