Skip to main content
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Freedom School

    Marie Cochran, an art instructor at Georgia Southern University, was one of the first children to integrate the schools in her hometown of Toccoa. Her art installation, "Freedom School," first shown at Atlanta's High Museum, includes two school desks, one bearing the names of students. It personally relates to the Civil Rights Movement and shows how far we have come, provoking the viewer with its images and symbols to ask questions about that time in history.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. What was the purpose of the sit-ins? the boycotts?

    2. What was one of the main reasons whites did not want blacks to get an education?

    Expansion

    1. Research and bring to class examples of the songs sung during the Civil Rights marches. There were other Negro Spirituals that were adapted (same tune/new words) during this movement. Project the words on and sing them together as a class. Refer to GPB's virtual field trip through the Civil Rights Movement for some examples.

    2. Memorize the major part of the “I Have a Dream” speech Martin Luther King Jr. made at the March on Washington. Recite this to the class.

    3. Take GPB's virtual field trip through the Civil Rights Movement. Watch the videos on the unique story of the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia.

    4. View the portion of the video showing the art installation again and discuss the images or symbols Cochran has used to portray education and civil rights. Discuss how she has captured and portrayed the events in that period and ask students what else could have been added. Compare the artwork in the video to the artwork portrayed in GPB's virtual field trip through the Civil Rights Movement.

    Vocabulary

    sit-in: an organized peaceful protest in which people occupy a place or seats and refuse to leave
    boycott: refusing to buy or use a product or patronize a business in protest
    segregation: separation of groups, especially of races
    integration: allowing different groups to mix together and interact as equals

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. What was the purpose of the sit-ins? the boycotts?
    African Americans wanted to be able to eat and shop in the same places white people could. They sat at lunch counters (where they were not allowed) and kept white people from sitting there. They did not shop at places that did not allow them the same access as whites. This was a boycott. Because these places lost money during the sit-ins and boycotts, they decided to change. They integrated all their facilities, eventually.

    2. What was one of the main reasons whites did not want blacks to get an education?
    Many whites did not want blacks to be able to read and write. Whites thought that they would also want power, and this would keep whites from having power over them.

    Explore More

    External Resources