Art Conflict and Community Text Set Guide

For this activity use the Art, Conflict and Community Text Set

Guiding Question: What can art teach us about civil rights?


Students will explore how art's role in civil rights and the different ways its is used to ignite healing, community and awareness.

First start off the lesson by introducing your students to freedom songs. Ask your students:

-Have you ever heard a freedom song?

-Why do you think music would be a powerful way to get your point across?

-How are songs similar to or different from speeches?

Listen to a freedom song, like We Shall Not Be Moved, from the Civil Rights Movement. Have a discussion with your students about what they learned from the song and what emotion was evoked after listening to it.

Then have students think about what other types of art people created to express their point of view and voice. Have students select and article from the Art, Conflict and Community Text Set such as this one about graffitti artists in Lebanon. They should read an article and analyze it for the following:

- What type of art is being created?

- What kind of reaction has this art received?

- How is it helping people to overcome an issue?

Once complete, have students share their analysis with a partner.

Student Work

Students will then take what they have learned to create their own artwork.
Pose this scenario to your students, "Imagine you are living in the 1960's around the time the Civil Rights Movement is happening. Create a piece of artwork that reflects your reaction to this movement. You many choose to draw a picture, create a song or any other form of artwork that inspires you."

Students will then present their art to the class. Audience members will write down their initial reactions to the student's art. You can have the presenter and audience compare reactions noting similarities, differences and the creators intended response.

Alternative activity: You could even choose to have students do this same activity but with a social issue seen today.

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