Visualizing Literature: Handmade Books Inspired by Poetry, Politics & Art from the Civil Rights Movement after 1950

May M. Winiarski, Visual Arts (Prof. & Adv), East Mecklenburg High School

Final Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

This unit will focus on artists, politics, music, and literature from 1955 to 2000 for my Visual Art Proficient (formerly Art III), and International Baccalaureate Diploma Art II classes. Students will study this part of American history to inspire them to create images for handmade art books from prints they make while reading and listening to poetry, letters, and music. We will look at why the movement happened at the time it did and how it changed. The focus of this unit is on the feelings of oppression, desire for freedom, self-respect, dignity, and peaceful resistance in order to increase a positive response to the negative situations African Americans survived during this segment of American history. We will step through the Civil Rights Movement for a fodder of images. I want poems, stories, and music to inspire the students and evoke images for works of art. They will print their images in multiples, share with each other, and assemble the prints into a book. Reading poetry and stories, listening to music, and watching historical videos and interviews will further stimulate ideas for images. The whole unit taught to one class may take ten or more 90 minute class periods.