Artist Dana Shutz painted her interpretation of the famous 1955 photograph of Emmett Till’s open casket funeral. This painting caused much controversy among African-American artists who protested and demanded that the painting be removed from the Whitney in New York.
There are many links to video and audio resources for analyzing the argument surrounding “The Open Casket.” There are links to radio stories, interviews, and a Time Magazine video of the Emmett Till photograph. There is a link to Parker Bright’s protest of the painting. There is a New Yorker profile on the artist and the painting. The resource features an original prompt based on responding to a quote by Dana Shultz speaking to the protest of her art. Students will craft an argumentative thesis sentence for an argument that agrees, refutes, or qualifies Shutz’ argument.
Also, there is a graphic organizer designed as a rhetorical triangle where students will look for appeals from a New York Times Op-Ed on the image of Emmett Till. Instructions and strategies are included on how to teach a rhetorical précis, and hold an inner and outer Socratic Circle.
These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, AP English Language or Literature class to prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities. Now adaptable for ESOL classes.
The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions. I have added an addendum that describes how to adapt the lessons for ELL students.
Tags: Close Reading, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, race relations, art, Civil Rights theme, ELL adaptable material, flipped classroom