This lesson plan will introduce students to the political, social, and economic issues surrounding school desegregation using oral histories from those who experienced it firsthand. They will learn about the history of the "separate but equal" U.S. school system, the 1971 Swann case which forced Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to integrate, and the recent decision to discontinue busing for racial integration in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. They will compare and contrast neighborhood schools with schools integrated through busing, and listen to oral histories of students who have experienced both types of schools in CMS. Through discussion with classmates, they will create a list of the negatives and positives of both neighborhood and integrated schools. Students will then write an argumentative essay explaining which type of schools they would support, and will defend their argument with evidence from the oral histories.
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The Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina rise abruptly from the Piedmont, the state's central plateau, and include the ranges of the Balsam, Black, Blue Ridge, Great Smoky, and Nantahala Mountains. The region is home to several of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River. The rugged geography of these mountains delayed the arrival of European settlers to the area, slowed the pace of development, and for many years preserved a distinct regional culture.
While development and change were slow in coming to the Mountain Region, the last half a century has seen a surge in both. This site focuses on the story of Madison County, North Carolina. Listen to members of the community candidly discuss tradition, growth, loss, and balance as you experience the story of change in the North Carolina mountains.
The political landscape in the South underwent significant change during the twentieth century. Political and social change in Southern states was directly connected to some of the landmark events of American history, particularly the Civil Rights Movement. An understanding of the role of politics in the South is essential to comprehension of the history and culture of the region.
The oral histories in this site illuminate changes in Southern politics from the end of the Civil War up to the present day. The recollections and opinions of the important political figures interviewed in these oral histories help form an impression of the role of Southern politics in the tumultuous events of the twentieth century in America. Listen as eyewitnesses recount the effects of politics and changing political beliefs on the story of the American South.
This lesson plan introduces students to changes that have occurred in western North Carolina, through two hundred years of national and regional development. Students will learn about the geographical, political, and technological issues that have influenced change in mountain communities using oral histories by Madison County residents. They will learn about the history of road building in the North Carolina mountains, and the relatively recent decision to connect two halves of interstate highway in Madison County. They will compare and contrast the negative and positive changes that road construction has brought to the region, and listen to oral histories of locals who have experienced both good and bad effects. Through discussion with classmates, they will create a list of the advantages and disadvantages of both tradition and development. After collecting and reviewing information about the construction of Interstate 26 through Madison County, students will write an editorial. In this editorial, students will clearly state their position on the Interstate 26 debate, and will support their argument with evidence from the oral histories.
In this lesson, students will learn about the use of child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They will learn what life was like for a child worker: how much the workers made, how many hours they worked each day, what their homes were like and what they did for fun. Students will then write an investigative news report exposing the practice of child labor in the mills, using quotations from oral histories with former child mill workers and photographs of child laborers taken by social reform photographer Lewis Hine.
When we think of hurricanes, we now think of Katrina and its devastating effects on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Though Katrina did not affect North Carolina, many hurricanes have passed through the state and caused similar damage. Through the years, people here have lost their homes, their possessions, and their communities to wind, floods, and storm surge. Hurricane Hugo (1989) is considered the most intense to hit this state, and Hazel (1954) is the deadliest, but Hurricane Floyd is considered one of the most damaging hurricanes to hit North Carolina. But what caused the damage may surprise you...
This lesson gives students a first-hand opportunity to hear about the planning and effort it takes to build a highway through an oral history of a North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) resident engineer. Through his oral history, students will learn about "the largest single construction project in the history of the NCDOT." That project is also known as the I-26 corridor in Madison County, North Carolina. This lesson encourages students to think about the enormous impact of highways in our personal lives, and on North Carolina's economy, while recognizing how we take highways for granted.
Students will discuss and understand measurement of a single event and measurement over time. After listening to excerpts from an oral history with Earl Cavenaugh, a survivor of Hurricane Floyd, students will understand how people devised ways of keeping measurements during that flood and earlier floods.
In this unit, students will research the history of school desegregation, and bring that history to life by listening to oral histories of North Carolinians who lived through desegregation. Students will then become historians, recording their own oral histories with relatives or community members, and reflecting on the experience through writing. The oral histories will be collected into a final project and placed in the school’s library for students and teachers to study in the future.
In this lesson, students will learn about the challenges faced by the first students to desegregate Southern schools, such as racism, verbal harassment, and physical threats. They will hear oral histories telling the story of desegregation pioneers in Alabama and North Carolina, and critically analyze images of school desegregation. Students will then write a narrative from the point of view of a black student desegregating a white school, exploring how the student may have felt about the experience.
In this lesson, students will read selected excerpts from slave narratives, determining common characteristics of the genre. Students will then write their own slave narratives as a slave from their region of North Carolina, researching for historical accuracy and incorporating elements of the slave narrative genre to demonstrate understanding.
North Carolina, like other Southern states, relied on slavery to build its economy during the 18th and 19th centuries. Slaves across the state raised crops, did domestic chores, constructed new buildings, sailed ships, and performed countless other jobs, all for no pay. The slave trade separated many families, and punishment and violence were all too common. Despite the extreme hardship of slavery, enslaved blacks in North Carolina created a strong culture that combined their experiences as slaves with elements of African and West Indian traditions.
Read the stories of slaves who lived in North Carolina to better understand what their lives were like. The excerpts here are taken from the North American Slave Narratives collection from Documenting the American South, which holds over 200 autobiographies by slaves or ex-slaves.
Students will define traditionally accepted notions concerning behavior and expectations for women in the South using the investigation of oral histories, cultural institutions and methods of socialization pre-WWI.
The twentieth century was a time of great social change in America. One example of remarkable change was in the role of women in American society. Across the country, and particularly in the South, traditional ideas defined acceptable roles and behavior for women. However, some women challenged these norms by pursuing higher education or professional careers at a time when the accepted role for a woman was wife and mother. These trailblazers contested accepted views about women’s abilities and paved the way for continuing change in women’s roles in society.
This site uses oral histories to trace ways in which ideas about women’s abilities and social roles changed in the South over the course of the twentieth century. Listen as these accomplished women recall the opportunities, challenges, changes, and triumphs they experienced as trailblazers in academic and professional careers.
The textile industry spread like wildfire across the South in the years following Reconstruction. Dozens of mills across North and South Carolina drew workers from rural and mountain farms, who traded in farm life for life in the mill village. There, workers lived in homes rented out by the mill, shopped in stores run by the mill, and went to church and school in structures built by the mill. The mill owners often tried to cultivate a sense of family in the mill village. This "family" included the children of the village, who very often left school to work in the cotton mills alongside their parents and siblings.
In the 1970s, the public school system of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County in North Carolina was ordered by the federal courts to desegregate. The district then faced busing, lawsuits, protests, and riots during its struggle with the issue of racial quotas. The district is currently coping with the controversial plan to end busing for racial balance and return to a geographically-based student assignment plan.
Listen to members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community candidly discuss race, desegregation, busing, and education as you experience the story of race in Charlotte's schools.
Throughout the tobacco-growing regions of the American South during the Great Depression, individuals and families earned much-needed income by sewing drawstrings into small cotton tobacco bags. The images in this collection are from a report in the North Carolina Collection documenting tobacco bag stringing work in North Carolina and Virginia in 1939.
In this lesson, students will first learn about the use of child labor in the cotton mills of North and South Carolina from the 1880’s through the 1920’s by listening to oral histories from former child mill workers. They will also research the use of child labor in today’s world. Students will then brainstorm and implement actions to stop child labor around the world, such as educating themselves and others about the issue, letter writing campaigns to governments and companies, and donating to organizations that work to stop child labor.
In this activity, students will read background information on tobacco bag stringing, and will be asked to analyze reports, worker profiles, and letters from the Tobacco Bag Stringing collection. They will respond by composing their own letter to President Roosevelt, supporting or opposing an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards act.
The student project will demonstrate mastery of a variety of objectives, including creative writing, historical appreciation and criticism, recognition of bias, and incorporation of text and illustration reflecting primary source research.
In this activity, students will read background information on tobacco bag stringing, and will be asked to analyze worker profiles of tobacco bag stringers. They will also analyze food prices taken from a 1939 Reidsville, North Carolina, newspaper, and will create a grocery list for two of the workers and their families, based on income and expenses.