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These activities focus on works of art in the Whitney’s collection and special exhibitions. Through discussion, research, art making, and writing activities, we hope to encourage close looking, foster conversation between students, and connect artwork to classroom learning. Learn about our four artist-centered themes.

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Research the civil rights movement.

In his Souvenir series, Kerry James Marshall pays tribute to the artistic and political leaders of the 1960s, many of whom are African American. Marshall credits his interest in commemorating the civil rights movement to his upbringing, explaining that “You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955 and . . . move to Watts in ’63, and grow up in South Central [Los Angeles] near the Black Panthers headquarters and see the kinds of things that I saw in my developmental years, and not speak about it.”

Have your students research the civil rights movement. Who were some of the key players in the movement, and what actions did they take to promote change? Look at Souvenir IV and search online to find the three other works from Marshall’s Souvenir series. Who does Marshall choose to name or portray, and why might he have chosen those people?

Kerry James Marshall, Souvenir IV, 1998  98.56  On view For Teachers