K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the state of race relations in North Carolina after Reconstruction and in the early 20th century.
  • learn about various perspectives related to race relations in North Carolina and evaluate major arguments of both sides.
  • analyze primary sources and read for bias and author’s context.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

One to two days



This lesson involves five fairly long documents. In order to make the material more manageable for students, it is suggested that only excerpts are assigned. Also, one option involves dividing the class into four groups and then assigning each group a particular document to read. Using the jigsaw method, students could then “teach” each other about the documents before completing comparisons or class discussions.

  1. Have students read the following:
    1. John Merrick: A Biographical Sketch by R. McCants Andrews Suggested excerpt: Chapter 12 “The Larger Significance of North Carolina Mutual.” Also some sections of the introduction are useful since they provide background on Merrick and place the document in its historical context.
    2. The Negro in NC and the South by Chief Justice Walter Clark Suggested excerpts: this document is divided into many interesting themes, in particular “The Value of Negro Labor”, “Farm ownership”, “No Negro Problem” (notice the nativist views), and “Negro suffrage” all give clear indications of Clark’s perspective.
    3. W.E.B. Du Bois’s brief biography and The Upbuilding of Black Durham by W.E.B. Du Bois. Suggested excerpt: all of pp 334-338.
    4. Natural Selection and the Race Problem by Benjamin K. Hays (Notice that this article was printed in a medical journal. Suggested excerpts: all, pp. 1-21, in particular on p. 2 he refers to Frederick Douglas (the colored apostle), Du Bois on pp 11-12, equality p. 17, and the “true” position for African Americans on p. 20-21.
  2. While students read, have them fill in the Perspectives on African American Advancement Chart. “Historic context” refers to the author’s position including his ethnicity, role in society, biography, etc. whereas “major points” are main arguments, bias, or points of view encountered in reading the text.
  3. Ask students to write about or discuss in class the differing perspectives regarding African American advancement, the major issues facing their population in the years after Reconstruction ended and the white views that attempted to hinder their progress.


Assess students based on their responses on their charts, as well as any contributions made to class discussions.

Supplemental information


This lesson is suitable for an advanced history class.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • History/Social Studies

        • Grades 11-12
          • 11-12.LH.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Twentieth Century Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

        • 12.H.1 Apply historical inquiry and methods to understand the American struggle for freedom and equality. 12.H.1.1 Evaluate historical interpretations and narratives on freedom and equality in terms of perspective, logic, use of evidence, and possible bias....
        • 12.H.3 Understand the influences, development and protests of various 20th Century civil rights groups on behalf of greater freedom and equality. 12.H.3.1 Explain the influence of late 19th and early 20th century reformers, such as Populists, Progressives...
      • United States History II

        • USH.H.1 Apply the four interconnected dimensions of historical thinking to the United States History Essential Standards in order to understand the creation and development of the United States over time. USH.H.1.1 Use Chronological thinking to: Identify the...
        • USH.H.5 Understand how tensions between freedom, equality and power have shaped the political, economic and social development of the United States. USH.H.5.1 Summarize how the philosophical, ideological and/or religious views on freedom and equality contributed...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 11–12 — African American History

  • Goal 5: The learner will examine the rise of Jim Crow and its effects on the life experiences of African Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
    • Objective 5.01: Assess the economic impact of Jim Crow laws on African Americans.
    • Objective 5.04: Compare and contrast the African American political and legal personalities of the time period and their impact on American society.
    • Objective 5.05: Evaluate the economic, cultural, political, and social impact of African American migration within and from the South.

Grade 11–12 — United States History

  • Goal 3: Crisis, Civil War, and Reconstruction (1848-1877) - The learner will analyze the issues that led to the Civil War, the effects of the war, and the impact of Reconstruction on the nation.
    • Objective 3.04: Analyze the political, economic, and social impact of Reconstruction on the nation and identify the reasons why Reconstruction came to an end.