Educators Blog

No Words? No Problem: Analyzing Visual Sources

Friday, 6/13/14

When you think of a primary source found at HSP, the first thing that probably comes to mind is an old, handwritten document. Visual primary sources, including photographs, political cartoons, and sketches, however, are just as important to the understanding of history as written sources. Knowing how to analyze visuals is an important skill for all students to learn.

The recently published unit plan “Visual Culture, African Americans, and the Civil War” uses exclusively visual sources to examine the representation of African Americans during the Civil War.  Students will be asked to analyze the visuals closely and connect their analysis with their knowledge of the Civil War era to form conclusions.  Through the lesson, students will gain a better understanding of the complex racial views of the era and will also strengthen their ability to analyze visual sources

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