Engaging students in stories through different perspectives is a key element when teaching history. It is important to help students understand that humans experience an event through different eyes and walks of life. I like to extend this teaching to photography and primary sources.
Most commonly, the images of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech are focusing on him as he is standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I like the image above as it encourages a different perspective. I am curious to see if my students can identify the location of the image based upon the Washington Monument in the background. Secondly, this view encourages a discussion around the overwhelming number of people gathered on this particular day. Why are they there? What event could draw such a large crowd?
Several years ago, I taught with a woman who is one of those little specks of a human in that overwhelming crowd. Her father had taken her and her brother on a bus from Philadelphia to see MLK's speech that day. She was very young and doesn't remember all that much aside from the large crowds. She does know that they were standing to MLK's left. I like to look at this photograph and think of my friend standing in this huge crowd witnessing this life altering speech.
Perspective is important, both for the stories and the images.