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The Great Depression, telling the story with photographs
You goal in this adventure is to investigate the images of a critical point in U.S. History, the Great
, to better understand it and to tell the stories of those who lived it. You will be using primary sources, especially photographs and oral histories, as your evidence. And you will create media--powerful stories and poems--to convey a personalized sense of the times to others.
We will be creating one class
, a found poetry anthology
In your groups, you will prepare another
analyzing the work of a particular FSA/OWI photographer or group of photographers
A. Photographer VoiceThread
1. You will be analyzing six photographs from one of the collections listed below, using these two tools, as well your own insights.
Photographic Analysis Form
Photo Study Guide
2. You will research the period, the place, and the photographer for additional information to inform your story. You may use our
Doin' the Decades
pathfinder to help with your research. Please also check the
3. In your groups, you will create a
slide show narrated by your analysis of six images. We are looking for creativity and depth of analytical skills in your slides. You will need to discuss the artist's background, historic context of the images, and how the images inform your understanding of the period. Choose your images carefully for their visual impact.
Select your images from the American Memory Collection.
Please choose your photograph from among
these specific collections
New York City Block
FSA Migratory Labor Camp
Ella Watson US Government Charwoman
Photographs of Signs Enforcing Racial Discrimination
These larger collections offer historical context:
Documenting America: America from the Great Depression to World War II
Black & White Photos
Voices from the Dust Bowl
B. Found Poem
Introduction to the Writers' Project
Individually, you will choose an oral history from which you can create a
. Found poems are created by using lines and phrases from existing text and remixing them with your own language and rhetorical devices. Once you've selected an oral history, scan it for important themes, cadence in the speaker's language, colorful phrases, repeated words.
Remember all that you've already learned about how poems are created. Try to incorporate
Consider using: alliteration, assonance, repetition,metaphor and simile, imagery, rhythm, colorful language, vernacular expressions, etc.
Use the stories and language recorded in
American Life Histories, 1936-1940
, as well as
Voices from the Thirties: An Introduction to the WPA Life Histories Collection
, as fodder for your poetry!
Here is a
list of transcripts by state
. Your poem will be collected in
our anthology on the poem page
of this wiki. These articles might give you some inspiration.
Here is another
instructional guide for creating found poetry
You may find some helpful tools for developing found poetry
. We will later collect your oral poem in a VoiceThread anthology.
: All oral histories, background information, and images must be documented on your slides (as a last slide in the Photographer project.)
MLA Style Sheet
will guide you.
Lange, Dorothea. Migrant Mother. Feb. 1936.
Library of Congress: FSA/OWI
. 17 Mar. 2010. Web. <
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