Photographs filed in Dorothy E. Davis, et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, Civil Action No. 1333.
National Archives (Philadelphia), Records of the District Courts of the United States, 1865-1991
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was actually a consolidation of five separate cases that challenged the constitutionality of racial segregation in public schools. One of them, Davis, et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, originated in the rural Virginia community of Prince Edward County, 170 miles south of the nation's capital. These photographs, presented as evidence in that case, illustrate the inequality of two of the county's public high schools: the all-black Robert Russa Moton High School and the all-white Farmville High School.
Graphical materials, such as photographs, maps, and posters, challenge students to draw upon visual data to learn historical content. Primary sources make students question where information comes from and encourage students to consider their original use.
You can find these photographs in the 2001 National History Day Teachers Guide, in the Digital Classroom at www.archives.gov/education/lessons/davis-case/, and in the fourth Teaching With Documents compilation volume. The associated teaching activities suggest methods for analyzing photographs to draw historical conclusions.