Prior to the labor movement of the 20th Century, which we tend to be most familiar with, labor organizing was happening in Detroit on behalf of those experiencing poverty. Early labor organizing focused on education and services for its members and over time also focused on ending child labor, raising wages, and improving working conditions. Detroit’s first labor organization was the Detroit Mechanics Society, founded in 1818.
In this Image Analysis activity, your group will look at a historic photo, think critically about its context, and share your interpretation.
- Look deeply at the picture. Observe shapes, colors, textures, the position of people and/or objects, etc.
- Write down what you see and only what you see. What’s in the photo–people, objects, etc.? Where are things/people positioned and what are they doing? What else do you see? Don’t make any interpretation about what the picture is trying to say.
- As a group, discuss: what questions do you need answered about this have about this picture that you would need to have answered before you can begin to interpret it? Ask as many questions as you have.
- As a group, try to find answers to those questions, starting with the top questions from your group.your group has.
- Given the historical context and subject of the piece, what do you think this image is about? Who do you think is the intended audience? How does this picture relate to civic engagement?
- Share out your group’s interpretation, and be prepared to support your view by referring to specific elements of the image and what you know about the history of the time.