Missouri Digital Heritage :: Education :: Progress Among Prejudice :: Lesson Overview

Missouri State Archives
Progress Amidst Prejudice:
Portraits of African Americans in Missouri, 1880-1920

The Johnson Family: What can a picture tell us?

Original Document Worksheet

  1. List the portraits in the order you believe they were taken:

  2. What is the first thing you notice about the people in these pictures? (This is not a “right or wrong” question. Use your first instinct.)

  3. Find one physical characteristic on each person that seems to be repeated in at least one other picture:

  4. Do you disagree that all of these pictures appear to be the same family? If so, which picture doesn’t fit?

  5. Do any of these portraits seem to suggest a special occasion?

  6. What assumption could be made by the absence of a mother in these photographs?

  7. What can we learn from the Census Worksheet about the black population in Washington, Missouri, at the times these pictures were taken?

  8. Based on the Fact Sheet, what possible occupations might Mr. Johnson have had?

  9. Based on the Fact Sheet, might the Johnson children have been educated?

  10. What are the chances that Mr. Johnson was literate?

  11. Why is it of historical interest to preserve and make available to the public these portraits?


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