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King Students Explore ‘Four Freedoms’

Eighth graders at King Middle School will hold a culminating event of their study of the "Four Freedoms" on Friday, June 7, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Portland Public Library. Families and other members of the Portland Public Schools community are invited.

As their final learning expedition, King eighth-graders explored concepts around freedom and individual rights. First students looked at Norman Rockwell’s famous illustrations of the Four Freedoms paintings that were printed in the Saturday Evening Post in 1943. These images – titled Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Worship – were inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt’s State of the Union speech in 1941.

As students examined these images and what they meant in the 1940s, they studied the concepts and meanings of freedom today through various reading assignments, discussions with guest lecturers, movies, Supreme Court cases, and other topical research. Students then expressed their personal experiences and reflections on freedom through various writing and visual art projects, culminating with creating Freedom Collages and essays. Based on imagery gathered from contemporary media and commercial sources, the Freedom Collages are striking commentaries about the nature of freedom in the United States today. These collages will be displayed for students and visitors to reflect on how our nation’s founding ideals reverberate today.