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									                             Learn More – Teach More
                                  Content Module
                   Imagining African Americans in American Art
                           CLASSROOM ACTIVITY #1
                  Defining the Images of African American Slavery
Objectives
Content
      Students will explore the ideas and culture that influenced white artists in their portrayal
      of African American slavery.
Skill
      Students will analyze the composition and content of three paintings.
      Students will construct an artistic effort of their own.

Materials
Lecture by John Coffey
“Old Plantation” (1800) by an unknown artist located at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk art
Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia and found in Common-place The Interactive Journal of Early
American Life, Vol. 4 No. 2, January, 2004 on the commonplace.org website, sponsored by the
American Antiquarian Society and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
       http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/cp/vol-01/no-04/school/
       Scroll to the painting.
“Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia” (1838) by Christian Mayr located at the North
Carolina Museum of Art website.
       http://www.ncmoa.org/collections/highlights/american/before1850/067_lrg.shtml
“Plantation Burial” (c. 1860) by John Antrobus located at the galleries of the Historical New
Orleans Collection, found on Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite Jr.’s website The Atlantic
Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record sponsored by The Virginia
Foundation for the Humanities and the Digital Media Lab at the University of Virginia a website
on images of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery sponsored by the University of Virginia
       http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?filename=NW0179
       Click on the image for a larger image.

Activities
Provide each student with a copy of the attached Painting Analysis Chart.
Assign the class to examine “Old Plantation,” “Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia,”
and “Plantation Burial.” Encourage students to record their observations on the Painting Analysis
Charts.
        The ideal format would be toproject the image in front of the entire class. An alternative
        would be to have the students examine the painting in pairs in the computer lab.
        “Old Plantation” (1800) by an unknown artist
        http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/cp/vol-01/no-04/school/
                Scroll to the painting.
        “Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia” (1838) by Christian Mayr
        http://www.ncmoa.org/collections/highlights/american/before1850/067_lrg.shtml
        “Plantation Burial” (c. 1860) by John Antrobus
        http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?filename=NW0179
                Click on the image for a larger image.
Divide the students into pairs.
Assign each pair of students to complete one Painting Analysis Chart by combining their
individual observations to create the best possible Painting Analysis Chart.
Allowing students to look at their Painting Analysis Charts, hold a whole class discussion
focused on the following questions:
        What are the similarities and differences in the paintings?
        What do the paintings tell the viewer about slavery in the United States?
        What do the paintings fail to tell the viewer about slavery in the United States?
        Why did each artist choose to paint this particular image of slavery?
        How did the artist use the composition of the painting to influence the viewer’s feelings?
        Composition
                The location of symbols, people, and things in the painting.
                The use of colors in the painting.
Provide each student with a sheet of white paper.
Assign each student to design an illustration to portray a representation of slavery in nineteenth
century United States. Students should be asked to consider symbols, people, and things as well
as colors that would influence the composition of their illustration.
Allow the students to post their illustrations.
Hold a whole class discussion focused around several students’ brief presentations of what they
portrayed in their illustrations and why they thought to emphasize those things.

Assessment
Picture Analysis Chart
√+      Chart responses reflect accurate descriptions in at least ten of the response boxes of the
        paintings examined.
√       Chart responses reflect accurate descriptions in seven or more of the response boxes of
        the painting examined.
√-      Chart responses reflect accurate descriptions in six or less response boxes.
Illustration
√+      Illustration accurately reveals one or more aspects of nineteenth century slavery in the
        United States.
√       Illustration attempts to reveal one aspect of nineteenth century slavery in the United
        States.
√-      Illustration fails to demonstrate an attempt to reveal any aspect of nineteenth century
        slavery in the United States.
                                                 Painting Analysis Chart
     Painting         Setting for the Painting   Description of Subjects      Description of the       Examination of Mood of
                                                     of the Painting       Action(s) of the Painting        the Painting
                                                                                                         (Happy, Sad, Other
                                                                                                          Mood AND Why)
 “Old Plantation”
     (c. 1800)




 “Kitchen Ball at
  White Sulphur
Springs, Virginia”
      (1838)




“Plantation Burial”
     (c.1860)
                            Learn More – Teach More
                                 Content Module
                   Imagining African Americans in American Art
                           CLASSROOM ACTIVITY #2
                 Strength and Community in African American Art
Objectives
Content
      Students will examine how African American artists portrayed strength and community
      in their artwork.
Skill
      Students will use the artists’ images to explore what strength and community mean to
      them personally.

Materials
Lecture by John Coffey
“Forward” (1967) by Jacob Lawrence (1967) located at the North Carolina Museum of Art
website.
        http://www.ncmoa.org/collections/highlights/20thcentury/20th/1950-2000/034_lrg.shtml
“Untitled” (1994) by John Biggers located at the North Carolina Museum of Art website.
        http://ncartmuseum.org/collections/acquisitions.shtml

Activities
Assign the class to examine “Forward” and “Untitled.” Ask the students to think about the ways
each artist views strength in the context of the community portrayed in the painting. Also ask
them to think about the portrayal of power in each painting.
        The ideal format would be to project the image in front of the entire class. An alternative
        would be to have the students examine the painting in pairs in the computer lab.
        “Forward” (1967) by Jacob Lawrence (1967)
        http://www.ncmoa.org/collections/highlights/20thcentury/20th/1950-2000/034_lrg.shtml
        “Untitled” (1994) by John Biggers
        http://ncartmuseum.org/collections/acquisitions.shtml
Hold a brief whole class discussion focused on student reflections on the paintings.
Provide each student with a sheet of paper.
Assign each student to create an image that portrays or symbolizes where (or from what) they
find strength from their community, family, and friends.

Assessment
Satisfactory Image reveals a sincere effort to explore a personal source of strength within the
community.
Unsatisfactory Image reveals little or no effort to explore a personal source of strength within the
community.

								
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