Fourth Piece of the Puzzle

By Jennifer Coggins

Select an image or video file that is related to your final project idea. Post it in your blog and describe why you chose it and how it might be difficult for students and others to make sense of.

In my final project, I may develop an activity related to the history of student activism at UNC Chapel Hill. I chose this photo because of its connection to student activism and because it would be a surprising image to many students. I was reminded this image when reading “Forrest Gump and the Future of Teaching the Past.” In that article, the authors describe students encountering images of pro-Vietnam War demonstrations and, despite evidence to the contrary, interpreting them as images of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.

The rally depicted here looks very much like anti-Vietnam War rally, and because there was so much anti-war activism on campuses at that time, on first glance one might guess it is from the 1960s. However, on closer inspection, one can see that it is a few decades older – not a rally against American involvement in Vietnam, but against American involvement in World War II. Just as the students described in “Forrest Gump and the Future of Teaching the Past” found it difficult to imagine support for the Vietnam War, I think many would find it difficult to imagine protests against World War II, because of the way that these wars are remembered.

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