Educating American citizens about our complex and multistranded national history is critical to our country’s identity and its vitality. The 67 contemporary story quilts by more than 50 artists featured in the exhibition And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations give voice to personal and collective histories of African American men and women — from stories about the struggles of enslaved ancestors aching for freedom to highlights of contemporary political leaders — drawing attention to social challenges that our nation continues to face.
Storytelling through fiber arts offers an effective means of relating diverse histories, by presenting compelling visual records of significant events as an alternative to written narratives. This vivid approach to learning helps bring awareness to social issues that are flagged in the American consciousness as sensitive and invites viewers to explore the cultural parameters of race, class and gender — themes that historian James Horton and sociologist Lois Horton have termed “the tough stuff of American history.” The quilts of this exhibition help propel discussions of racial reconciliation forward, engaging the next generation of problem solvers.
And Still We Rise can be adapted to the needs of museums and centers for research on history, U.S. politics, sociology, African American culture and history, women’s studies, fine art, folk art, art history and criticism, material culture studies, and an array of other subjects. The themes of the exhibition align to core curriculum standards, as outlined in the following description outlining educational components. In addition, the Books Alive! for Kids program available through Learning Through Art, Inc. offers ancillary lesson plans and curricula that are available to accompany And Still We Rise for grade school classes. Additional information is available upon request.
National Standards for U.S. History
National Center for History in Schools
Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763), National Standards Era 2
• How enslavement of Africans shaped European and American colonial life in the Americas
Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s), National Standards Era 3
• The impact of the American Revolution on politics, economy and society
Expansion and Reform (1801-1861), National Standards Era 4
• How the expansion of slavery and the westward movement led to regional tensions in the antebellum period
Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877), National Standards Era 5
• The causes of the Civil War, its effects on the American people, and how reconstruction succeeded or failed
Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s), National Standards Era 9
• The struggle for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil liberties
Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present), National Standards Era 10
• Developments in foreign and domestic politics, and economic, social, and cultural developments in the US
National Standards for U.S. History
National Center for History in Schools Significant Humanities Themes, Social Studies Strands, National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
• Culture and multiculturalism (as explored through history and sociology)
• Time, continuity and change (as explored through history, religious studies and political science)
• People, places and environments (as explored through anthropology, sociology and economics)
• Individual development and identity (as explored through behavioral sciences and feminist studies)
• Citizenship rights and responsibilities (as explored through political science and civil rights)
• Individuals, groups and institutions (as explored through political science, religious studies and sociology)
Take-Home Message: Guests are encouraged to explore broad themes including race and identity, gender equality, social justice, political membership and responsibility as well as specific histories. The result is an opportunity to respond personally to events of American history and appreciate the art of visual storytelling.