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Historical Era

Thinking Skill

Tool

We Shall Overcome

Launch Lesson

Author:
National Archives Education Team
Tool:
Focusing on Details: Zoom/Crop
Historical Era:
Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
Primary Historical Thinking Skill:
Historical Analysis & Interpretation
blooms taxonomy
Bloom's Taxonomy:
Analyzing

Use to create an Activity

We Shall Overcome

Synopsis

Students will discover the reasons behind the March on Washington and analyze the impact and consequences on the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Author’s Notes

This activity can be used as an introduction to the March on Washington during a unit on Civil Rights. It could also be used to illustrate First Amendment rights according to the United States Constitution. For grades 5-12.

Present the activity to the entire class. Notice that initially, the photograph is cropped to reveal only this young girl’s face. Ask students to describe the photograph and try to determine where this girl might be. Remind students to look at the whole visible area for context clues; even the smallest details may reveal the answer.

Once students have offered some guesses, slowly move the Zoom/Pan arrows to reveal more and more of the entire document. Ask students to incrementally use newly revealed context clues to reformulate their guesses, if applicable. Then share with students that this young woman is at the March on Washington in 1963.

On August 28, 1963, photographer Rowland Scherman, working for the United States Information Agency (USIA), took this photograph. It has become an iconic image of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The girl in the photograph is Edith Lee-Payne of Detroit, Michigan, who celebrated her 12th birthday by attending the March on Washington with her mother. In the photograph she carries a March on Washington banner and concentrates intently on the scene before her. Ms. Lee-Payne had no idea she had been photographed until her sister saw the photograph in a calendar celebrating African-American history. Students can view the Inside the Vaults video short about her and and photographer Rowland Scherman on the National Archives YouTube Channel.

As a follow-up, ask students why they think the organizers of the March selected the Lincoln Memorial as the place to end their march.

Documents in this activity: