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History Through the Eyes of Artists Mural



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The goal of this project was for 7th grade students to create a mural depicting segments of American History based on their Social Studies curriculum. The images portrayed in this series of ceramic tile paintings include the following topics: Europeans opening trade routes to the new worldthe first colonies, the American Revolutionthe Abolitionist movement, the Industrial Revolution, Westward Expansion, the American Indian and Women’s Right to Vote.  After choosing a variety of paintings and illustrations to represent these topics, students recreated these images on ceramic tiles.  The project was funded by a Lakeland Education Grant.

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American Indian: In the late 1700s thousands of white settlers moved into territory occupied by Native Americans causing major conflict and eventually their displacement. The settlers ignored treaties previously signed and started building on lands that had long been settled by Native Americans.  To make matters worse, they hunted the same animals that Indians depended on for sustenance.  Boston Tea Party, 1773: The Boston Tea Party was one of the most famous acts of American defiance against the British. The British Parliament raised the import tariff on tea shipments. It was called the “The Tea Act of 1773.” Fed up with increased British 
oppression, a group of colonists attacked ships
in Boston Harbor. Led by Samuel Adams and 
the Sons of Liberty, they threw 342 chests of tea overboard. This led to harsher treatment of the colonists by the British.
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American Revolution: The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, 1775. These tiles depict Paul Revere’s ride to alert the citizens of Massachusetts that the British were coming. This image was immortalized by the beloved poet  William Henry Wadsworth. “Listen my children and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” Byrd Plantation: Dating from around 1730-1750, this tobacco plantation was the home of the William Byrd family. William Byrd II was the founder of Richmond, Virginia. This image is an example of the huge tobacco 
plantations that were built along the rivers of
Virginia. Entire economic and social systems grew out of the export distribution and sales of these cash crops.
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Civil War:  From 1861-1865 brothers fought against brothers in a war that became a defining moment in the history of the United States. The stakes were high. The South wanted to become an independent nation while the North wanted the South to remain in the Union maintaining one Nation. The second issue at stake was the declaration that all men were created equal. If this was so, slavery would have to be abolished. Victory for the North secured both freedom from slavery and preserved the United States as one nation. Slavery: “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” A medallion created by Josiah Wedgewood, this became the most famous image of a black person in the 18c. The original image was designed by the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. This inscription became the “catchphrase” for British and American Abolitionists. It was also a very controversial image that of depicting the black figure in supplication. Despite that,  the image did help to spur support for the Abolitionist cause. In 1788, Ben Franklin distributed these medallions and they became a fashion statement for abolitionists and anti-slavery sympathizers.
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Continental Congress 1774-1789: The first governing body of the United States during the American Revolution, the Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the thirteen colonies. They first met in Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia in 1774. Georgia 
was the only colony that did not send a representative.
Statehood: The first 13 colonies were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. These 13 colonies sought independence from the British Crown and in order to do so, declared themselves to be sovereign and independent states.
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European Expansion: This illustration, original artist unknown, depicts Europeans leaving home in search of new trade routes. In the late 1400s, Europeans sailed across the Atlantic and arrived in North and South America. By the 1600s most of Europe was heading towards the Americas and competing for their trade. Industrial Revolution 1865- 1914: Due to 
the rapid growth of the railroads across the nation, industry experienced tremendous growth  as America transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial nation. The shift from hand made to machine made goods increased the wealth of the country to 
degrees never seen before.
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Westward Expansion 1820-1860:  Americans began to expand their territory to the Pacific Ocean. Horace Greeley offered the following in a New York City paper of which he was the editor: “If you have no family or friends to aid you, turn your face to the great west and there build up 
your home and future.”
Women’s Right to Vote:The 19th 
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified August 26, 1920. The fight for woman's suffrage had been won, ending a struggle that began in the mid-19th century.”