Understanding Race and Racism Through Faith’s Ringgold’s Work

byCarol Boynton

This curriculum unit introduces Faith Ringgold’s art and children’s books to for primary students through a new lens. In this three- to four-week unit, primary students will learn the life story of Ringgold and her influence in the art world from the 1960’s until the present. Her award-winning children’s books tell the stories that began as her unique painted story quilts. Students will become familiar with four of Ringgold’s books, including Tar Beach, Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky, Dinner at Aunt Connie's House, Bonjour Lonnie, If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks. They will learn about Ringgold’s life and the quilting traditions that influenced her work. Through a culminating project, students will communicate an important aspect of their lives visually by designing an art piece about their own family. They will learn about their classmates’ families through story quilt squares and family memory stories. Students will compose a one- or two-line family memory story and visually depict a family memory or a hope or dream for their family drawn in a well-developed piece of art.

(Developed for Literacy and Social Studies, grade K; recommended for Literacy and Social Studies, grade K-3)

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