Too often, archival photos are not analyzed as historical sources. Instead, they are treated as windows into the past. This lesson introduces students to reasoning about photographs as historical evidence through 4 activities. Students are first given an opportunity to practice thinking historically with a familiar classroom scene, then examine different historical photographs of African Americans in Los Angeles.
Note: This lesson was designed with elementary school students in mind but can be used with a wide range of students as an introduction to analyzing historical photographs. The first activity in this lesson is also included in our Evaluating Photographs intro lesson.
We developed this lesson as part of a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District to create lessons about African American history in L.A. To access the other lessons made in this partnership, click here.
Image: Photograph of African American firefighters outside Hose Company No. 4 in 1910. From the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive.