2.4 Representing historic women figures in North Carolina
Provided by UNC Libraries / Documenting the American South.
In this lesson, students will examine six monuments of historic women in the Commemorative Landscapes collection. Students will note which women in North Carolina’s history are honored and use another database to compare which famous women are honored and which ones are not. Students will think about how the commemoration of women might affect our collective understanding of the value of women’s contributions to North Carolina.
- identify and describe the achievements of women represented in North Carolina’s commemorative landscape.
- demonstrate an understanding of how women’s achievements in North Carolina have been represented across the state.
- critique the limited representation of women in North Carolina’s commemorative landscape.
Time required for lesson
One 90-minute class or two 45-minute classes
- Notebook paper
- Copies of the North Carolina Commemoration Comparison Chart — one per student
- Copies of a Venn Diagram — one per student
- Access to the Commemorative Landscapes collection
- Access to the Women’s History Timeline from the North Carolina Museum of History
- Computer lab or individual student computers
- Computer with internet connected to a multimedia projector
- Ask students to brainstorm a list of famous women and their accomplishments. Encourage students to list or name any famous woman of historic or contemporary importance.
- Ask students to share their lists and record their responses on the board. Encourage students to describe who the woman is and why she is famous while they share.
- In pairs, students should sort the class list into categories (e.g., inventors, lawmakers, athletes, etc.). Ask students to individually rank the categories in order of importance based on their personal opinion. In a short paragraph at the bottom of their page of notes, students should explain why they ranked the categories in the way they did.
- Explain that women have played and continue to play an important role in the governance, leadership, and creativity of the United States and the world. Highlight that some monuments in North Carolina honor the achievements of women, but many of them do not reflect the most important or lasting achievements of women in the state. Explain that the students’ task is to figure out how women are represented in North Carolina’s commemorative landscape and compare it with the many and diverse achievements of women in North Carolina. At the end of class, the students should be able to argue whether the monuments in North Carolina’s commemorative landscape accurately reflect the achievements of women in North Carolina or not.
- Display the Commemorative Landscapes collection and explain that this is an online database containing information on a variety of monuments and other commemorative landscapes across North Carolina.
- Go to the Browse Monuments feature of the site and explain that this database allows us to narrow our search based on the:
- subject (who or what the monument is depicting).
- time period in which a monument was erected.
- county and city in which the commemorative site resides.
- type of monument.
- Ask the students which search criteria would be most appropriate if we want to learn about monuments that have been erected to honor women in North Carolina. Help support your students’ selection of the “Subject” heading.
- Highlight the various ways that we can narrow our searches based on the subject of a monument. Ask the students which subheading they think would be most appropriate if we are hoping to learn about monuments erected to honor women in North Carolina. Help facilitate their selection of the Historic Women Figures search subheading.
- Divide the class into small groups and ask them to read the descriptions of the six monuments under this subheading. While the students read, they should make note of the following features on the left side of their North Carolina Commemoration Comparison Chart:
- The woman who is honored in the monument
- Why the woman was honored
- After students have finished reading and recording their findings, display the North Carolina Museum of History website. Explain that this site shares information about the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. On this site, they have a timeline of North Carolina women’s history. From this timeline, users are able to see the variety of ways in which women in North Carolina have contributed to the state’s governance, economic stability, and civil success.
- In different groups, students should read the timeline and choose ten to fifteen women and record the following information on the right side of their North Carolina commemoration comparison chart:
- the woman who is honored
- why the woman was honored
- After students have recorded the information from the North Carolina Museum of History site, the students should should categorize the types of achievements which were documented at both sites at the bottom of their comparison chart.
- Have students complete a Venn diagram comparing the websites for the two museums. Remind them to include women, achievements, and types of achievements referenced on both sites.
- After the students have completed their Venn diagrams, they should write paragraphs analyzing the similarities and differences between the types of women and achievements honored by North Carolina monuments and the North Carolina Museum of History. They should explain whether the women and achievements honored are, on the whole, mostly similar or mostly different and why they think they might be similar or different. They should also explain which narrative of the achievements of women they prefer. This can be discussed if time permits.
- Evaluate student writing against the information provided through class activities.
- Gauge student participation in class discussions.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 9: The learner will explore examples of and opportunities for active citizenship, past and present, at the local and state levels.
- Objective 9.02: Identify past and present state and local leaders from diverse cultural backgrounds and assess their influence in affecting change.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
- 8.H.2 Understand the ways in which conflict, compromise and negotiation have shaped North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.2.1 Explain the impact of economic, political, social, and military conflicts (e.g. war, slavery, states’ rights and citizenship...
- 8.H.3 Understand the factors that contribute to change and continuity in North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.3.1 Explain how migration and immigration contributed to the development of North Carolina and the United States from colonization to contemporary...
United States History I
- USH.H.2 Analyze key political, economic and social turning points in United States History using historical thinking. USH.H.2.1 Analyze key political, economic, and social turning points from colonization through Reconstruction in terms of causes and effects...
United States History II
- USH.H.2 Analyze key political, economic and social turning points in United States History using historical thinking. USH.H.2.1 Analyze key political, economic, and social turning points since the end of Reconstruction in terms of causes and effects (e.g.,...
- Social Studies (2010)