People’s History Artists for the Classroom

We are featuring some of our favorite people’s history artists as a resource to connect art and social justice in the classroom.

As Howard Zinn noted in a 2004 interview, “Artists play a special role in social change. I first noticed this when I was a teenager and becoming politically aware for the first time…. Social movements all through history have used art to enhance what they do, to inspire people, to give them a vision, to bring them together and make them feel that they are part of a vibrant movement.”

Americans Who Tell the Truth

Robert Shetterly’s portraits and narratives highlight people who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic justice.

Shetterly Clyde Kennard _9-13_kw04523_small Clyde Kennard ai-jen_pooAi-jen Poo Emma Tenayuca chief_joseph_hinmton_yalektChief Joseph Hinmton Yalektit



 Favianna Rodriguez

Favianna Rodriguez is a transnational interdisciplinary artist and cultural organizer. Her art and collaborative projects deal with migration, global politics, economic injustice, patriarchy, and interdependence.

Women. Unions. Rights. Power. Women. Unions. Rights. Power. You've Been Killing Me Little by Little with PunishmentYou’ve Been Killing Me Little by Little with Punishment favianna_WorkConnectsUsAllWork Connects Us All The Worldwide Movement to End RacismThe Worldwide Movement to End Racism



 Ilka Hartmann

Ilka Hartmann photographed some of the great social movements of the latter 20th century in the United States.

woman_with_flowers_ufw_1979United Farm Workers Woman With Flowers national_headquarters_bppBlack Panthers at the National Headquarters raised_fists_alcatraz_72Defiant Young Alcatraz Occupiers


 JustSeeds Artists’ Cooperative

JustSeeds is a network of artists committed to making print and design work that reflects a radical social, environmental, and political stance.

justsseeds_ILWU_posterBy Blanco and Peter Cole justseeds_intlhotelBy Claude Moller justseeds_undergroundrrBy Sam Kerson justseeds_corsetstrikeBy Shaun Slifer and Sara Beth Meister


Andrew Lichtenstein

Andrew Lichtenstein is a documentary photographer, journalist, and teacher who works on long term stories of social concern. One of his series features unmarked locations of historical significance.

Memory02_smallLudlow Massacre Site
On April 20, 1914, striking miners were attacked by the Colorado National Guard, coal company guards, and private detectives.
Memory19_smallMississippi River Boat Dock
From the 1820s until the 1860s, Natchez, Mississippi was once a major hub for the sale of people.
pequot_massacre_mystic_ct_smallPequot Massacre Site
In May of 1637, Captain John Mason led a raid against the Pequot Indians in Mystic, Connecticut.


Ricardo Levins Morales

Ricardo Levins Morales produces original social justice and political art.

rlm_global_warmingStop Global Warming rlm_trayvon_martinTrayvon Martin toussaint_lovertureToussaint L’Overture The Labor Movement posterThe Labor Movement


 Harvey Richards

Harvey Richards filmed and photographed a number of 1960s social justice movements. A free photo book is available for teachers. Learn more.

December, 1963, Berkeley, California. CORE pickets Penny's Department StoreSan Francisco Bay Area Civil Rights in the 1960s Farm Workers on Strike, 1959-1966Farm Workers on Strike, 1959-1966 sf_march1967 Spring Mobilization against the War in Vietnam