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Read Between the Brushstrokes: Using Visual Art as a Historical Source

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Visual Arts +1

This Learning Lab from the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will explore the connection between visual art and history. 

When studying history, it is important to remember that all historical sources do not look the same. Visual art, being an active response to a stimulus, serves as a mirror to the contemporary landscape. Art engages in a conversation with history while acting as a visual expression of contemporary thoughts and ideas.

Through the visual art piece "Walking" by Charles Henry Alston (1958), students will learn more about the events and cultural context of the 1950's including the Civil Rights Movement and the role of women as social activists while honing their visual literacy competency. Students can use this Learning Lab collection to help sharpen their historical thinking skills and expand their conceptions of historical sources.