THE FIRST MEETING OF THE CARVER HIGH SCHOOL MURAL COMMITTEE IS ABOUT TO START.
Tianna and Edgar chat excitedly as they enter the room. They have been looking forward to this meeting since a local artist first announced that he was donating his time to paint a mural that “inspires students to act.” Today, the mural committee is deciding what to feature on the new school mural of Harriet Tubman. Tianna has a lot of ideas and is eager to share them!
Tianna has admired Harriet Tubman since 4th grade, when she first learned about the abolitionist known as one of America’s greatest freedom fighters. Tubman was born into slavery and lived with her parents until she made her escape in 1849. Tianna’s teacher explained that after Harriet Tubman’s escape north to Philadelphia, she went on to risk her own life and jeopardize her freedom. For approximately 10 years, Harriet Tubman returned to Maryland on thirteen separate trips, leading her family and more than 70 enslaved people to freedom through the Underground Railroad, a secret communications network and safe houses organized by Black and white abolitionists.
Harriet Tubman also served as a nurse and military leader for the Union Army during the Civil War. She led Black troops in the Combahee River Raid, helping to liberate 750 enslaved people in South Carolina. In her later years, Tubman continued to give of herself to others, including supporting the women’s suffrage movement and opening a rest home for elderly or sick African Americans. Tianna has always been inspired by Tubman and her selfless dedication to equality and freedom for everyone.
Spread across the table in front of Tianna and Edgar are books and photos of primary sources that provide important information about Tubman’s activism. The mural committee has to determine which achievements of Tubman’s should be artistically represented. How can they demonstrate, through art, how Tubman acted to bring about change? Which of her achievements can be used to inspire others to act, too?
Activism isn't just about protests and picket lines, it's about working to make a change. Art can be a form of activism and inspiration, too. Identify the key moments and aspects of Harriet Tubman's work as a leader and activist to include in the Carver High school mural. How can your design inspire others to take actions to make a change? Explain your design choices to make your case.
Have your students take this challenge and make their case! To begin, send your students to this website with this challenge’s code.
Art and activism have long gone together. Artists like Diego Rivera and Faith Ringgold have used their talents to send a message or show solidarity with a group of people.
Abolition was a movement to end slavery.
The Underground Railroad was a secret network organized by people who helped men, women, and children escape from slavery to freedom.