LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

  1. Credits & acknowledgments
  2. Introduction
  3. About this "digital textbook"
  1. 1 The national scene
    1. 1.1
      The Carter years
      Overview of United States history in the late 1970s, including economic troubles, the energy crisis, the Cold War, and the Iran hostage crisis.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1977–1981
    2. 1.2
      A society in transition
      An overview of social, economic, and cultural changes in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
      • Format: book
      • Relevant dates: 1975–1985
    3. 1.3
      The Reagan years
      A history of the United States during the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981–89), including the rise of conservatism, economic issues, and relations with the Soviet Union.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1981–1989
    4. 1.4
      The presidency of George H. W. Bush
      A brief history of the United States from 1989 to 1993, including the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1989–1993
    5. 1.5
      The United States in the 1990s
      A brief history of the United States in the 1990s, including the 1992 presidential election, Bill Clinton's presidency, globalization, the congressional elections of 1994, the rise of the information economy, and post-Cold War foreign relations.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1992–2000
    6. 1.6
      The war on terror and the presidency of George W. Bush
      A brief history of the United States in the first decade of the 21st century, largely focusing on the events of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 2001–2004
  2. 2 Politics, personalities, and issues
    1. 2.1
      Mapping election returns, 1960–2008
      A slideshow of maps show results for statewide North Carolina elections in presidential election years from 1960 to 2008. Accompanying questions guide students to explore how voting patterns have changed with time and place.
      • Format: activity
      • Relevant dates: 1960–2008
    2. 2.2
      Jim Hunt
      Biography of Jim Hunt, North Carolina's longest-serving governor (1977–1985 and 1993–2001).
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1937–2007
    3. 2.3
      "Senator No"
      Magazine and newspaper profiles of Jesse Helms from different points in his career offer contrasting views of North Carolina's controversial senator.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1972–2008
    4. 2.4
      The 1984 Senate campaign
      Time magazine article about the 1984 U.S. Senate race between incumbent Jesse Helms and then-governor Jim Hunt, which was the most expensive non-presidential election in the nation's history to that point.
      • Format: magazine
      • Relevant dates: 1984
    5. 2.5
      Henry Frye
      Biography of Henry Frye (1932–), former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
      • Format: biography
      • Relevant dates: 1965–2000
    6. 2.6
      Urban renewal and the displacement of communities
      Oral history interview about the impact of urban renewal in Charlotte, North Carolina. Includes historical background and information about urban renewal.
      • Format: interview
      • Relevant dates: 0
    7. 2.7
      Urban renewal and Durham's Hayti community
      Oral history interview about the impact of the construction of NC 147 through Durham, North Carolina, which destroyed much of the city's historically African American Hayti community. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: interview
      • Relevant dates: 0
  3. 3 The changing economy
    1. 3.1
      Research Triangle Park
      The Research Triangle Park (RTP) was founded by a committee of government, university, and business leaders as a model for research, innovation, and economic development. By establishing a place where educators, researchers, and businesses come together as collaborative partners, the founders of the Park hoped to change the economic composition of the region and state, thereby increasing the opportunities for the citizens of North Carolina.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1956–2006
    2. 3.2
      The closing of a factory
      Excerpts from two oral history interviews about the closing of the White Furniture Factory in Mebane, North Carolina, in the 1990s. Includes historical background.
      • Format: interview
      • Relevant dates: 1993
    3. 3.3
      Key industries: Banking and finance
      An overview of the history of the banking industry in North Carolina.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1990–2007
    4. 3.4
      Key industries: Biotechnology
      Biotechnology is a perfect example of a "new economy" industry, a sector that did not exist as we know it a century ago but is a major economic driver for many national and regional economies today. This article gives an overview of the biotechnology industry in North Carolina.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1990–2007
    5. 3.5
      Key industries: Furniture
      The traditional North Carolina furniture industry has been experiencing drastic changes in the past decade. This article gives an overview of the industry's history and current state in North Carolina.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1990–2007
    6. 3.6
      Key industries: Hog farming
      An overview of the recent growth of the hog industry in North Carolina and of the controversies surrounding it.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1980–2007
    7. 3.7
      Key industries: Information technology
      The information technology industry has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, fueling the American economic boom of the 1990s and subsequent growth and development. This article looks at the growth of that industry in North Carolina
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1990–2007
    8. 3.8
      Key industries: Textiles & apparel
      An overview of the recent history and decline of North Carolina's textile industry.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1996–2007
    9. 3.9
      Key industries: Tobacco
      An overview of the recent history of the tobacco industry in North Carolina.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1997–2007
  4. 4 The environment
    1. 4.1
      The environmental justice movement
      In the early 1980s, the environmental justice movement became a national protest that galvanized communities across the country seeking social justice and environmental protection. The initial environmental justice spark sprang from a protest in Warren County, North Carolina.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1980–1990
    2. 4.2
      Moving Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
      Because of the threat of shoreline erosion, in 1999, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was successfully relocated 2,900 feet from the spot on which it had stood since 1870.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    3. 4.3
      Coastal erosion and the ban on hard structures
      North Carolina’s sandy coast is one of the state’s greatest tourist attractions, and also one of its frequent sources of controversy. The 301 miles of coastline in the east have been the site of an ongoing struggle between stable structures created by humans and the dynamic forces of nature, between property rights and thousands of years of geology. A 1985 rule designed to preserve the beaches in their natural state enjoys the support of coastal scientists but threatens the investments of home-owners and developers.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1985–2009
    4. 4.4
      The impact of hog farms
      Newspaper article about a 1995 spill of hog waste into the New River in southeastern North Carolina. Includes historical background.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1995
    5. 4.5
      Regulating hog farms
      Newspaper article about efforts by North Carolina legislators in 1995 to regulate large hog farms and the waste they produce. Includes historical background.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1995
    6. 4.6
      Cane Creek Reservoir
      Excerpts from an oral history interview about the battle to prevent construction of a reservoir in Orange County, North Carolina, in the 1970s and 1980s. Includes historical background.
      • Format: interview
      • Relevant dates: 1980–1988
    7. 4.7
      Air pollution
      In 2006, the State of North Carolina sued the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2006 to force limits on emissions from power plants across the border in Tennessee. This newspaper article tells the story. Includes historical background.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 2009
    8. 4.8
      Drought and development
      Newspaper article about debates over limits on development in the wake of North Carolina's 2007-08 drought. Includes background about related environmental issues.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 2008
    9. 4.9
      The Mountains-to-Sea Trail
      When complete, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will stretch in one continuous path across the state from Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in Smoky Mountains National Park, to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, a 420-acre sand dune system on the Outer Banks.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1968–2008
    10. 4.10
      Hugh Morton and North Carolina's native plants
      • Format: essay
      • Relevant dates: 1985–2005
    11. 4.11
      Grandfather Mountain: Commerce and tourism in the Appalachian environment
      • Format: essay
      • Relevant dates: 1790–2009
  5. 5 Hurricane Floyd
    1. 5.1
      Ten years later: Remembering Hurricane Floyd's wave of destruction
      Retrospective article from the Wilmington Star-News recalls the impact of Hurricane Floyd on North Carolina in 1999.
      • Format: newspaper
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    2. 5.2
      Hurricane Floyd's lasting legacy
      Article from NASA explains why Hurricane Floyd became such a costly and deadly storm.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    3. 5.3
      How does a hurricane form?
      Article from NASA explains the science behind hurricanes.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 0
    4. 5.4
      Understanding floods
      Article explains the science behind flooding, including the various types of floods and why certain areas are at high risk of flooding.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 0
    5. 5.5
      Mapping rainfall and flooding
      In this activity, students explore maps and data from Hurricanes Floyd, Dennis, and Irene in September-October 1999 to explore their effects on North Carolina's coastal plain.
      • Format: activity
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    6. 5.6
      The evacuation
      The evacuation of coastal areas before the approach of Hurricane Floyd in September 1999 created the largest traffic jams in history and led to the development of new, coordinated evacuation procedures.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    7. 5.7
      Rising waters
      In this excerpt from an oral history interview, Bert Pickett describes the despair that people in Pitt County, North Carolina, felt after Hurricane Floyd's devastation.
      • Format: interview
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    8. 5.8
      Damage from Hurricane Floyd
      Billy Ray Hall, as President of the Rural Economic Development Center, coordinated North Carolina's cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Floyd. In this excerpt from an oral history interview, Hall discusses the scope of the damage in eastern North Carolina. Floyd, he says, was as big a natural disaster as the United States has seen.
      • Format: interview
      • Relevant dates: 1999–2000
    9. 5.9
      Floyd and agriculture
      Along with the loss of homes, Hurricane Floyd created an agricultural nightmare.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    10. 5.10
      Cleaning up after the flood
      A newsletter published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the North Carolina Emergency Management Division during the recovery from Hurricane Floyd gives a sense of what residents endured after the flooding.
      • Format: pamphlet
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    11. 5.11
      The problems of flood relief
      Excerpt from an oral history interview with a Duplin County couple who weathered Hurricane Floyd.
      • Format: interview
      • Relevant dates: 1999
    12. 5.12
      Preventing future floods
      After Hurricane Floyd, some communities in eastern North Carolina began looking seriously at how they might better manage their floodplains to minimize the damage from future floods. This brief article includes a report about the strategy adopted by the city of Kinston.
      • Format: report
      • Relevant dates: 1999–2010
    13. 5.13
      Reclaiming sacred ground: How Princeville is recovering from the flood of 1999
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1865–2000
  6. 6 New North Carolinians
    1. 6.1
      Mapping a changing North Carolina
      In this activity, students analyze a series of maps drawn from U.S. Census data to study how various aspects of the state's population varies geographically and has changed since 1970.
      • Format: activity
      • Relevant dates: 1970–2000
    2. 6.2
      Languages and nationalities
      Data on languages spoken and nationality of origin shows the rapidly-growing diversity of North Carolina residents.
      • Format: data set
      • Relevant dates: 2000–2010
    3. 6.3
      Latino immigration
      North Carolina has the fastest growing Latino population in the country. This article offers a snapshot of North Carolina's Latino community.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 2000–2003
    4. 6.4
      Five Faiths
      The Five Faiths Project, developed by the Ackland Art Museum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, combines original works of art, photographs, storytelling and community events to introduce information about the world religions of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 0
    5. 6.5
      A Hindu temple in Cary
      Newspaper article about the opening of the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Cary, North Carolina, in 2009. Includes cultural background.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 2009
    6. 6.6
      The Montagnards
      Background and history of the Montagnard people of Vietnam and the story of their immigration to North Carolina.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1987–2002
    7. 6.7
      Immigration from Africa
      North Carolina today is home to people from well over a hundred nations. This article summarizes the various communities of African immigrants living in Guilford County who are listed by the U.S. Census as being simply African American.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1990–2010
  1. Glossary
  2. Index