North Carolina women and the Progressive Movement
In this lesson, students read primary source documents from Documenting the American South specifically related to North Carolina women involved in reform movements characteristic of the Progressive era. For the most part, these documents detail women's work in education-related reform and describe the creation of schools for women in the state. They also demonstrate that, as was true in the rest of the nation, the progressive, female reformers of N.C. were segregated based on race and socio-economic status.
A lesson plan for grades 9–12 Social Studies
- develop a better understanding of the impact of the Progressive Movement in North Carolina.
- uncover avenues of female empowerment and work outside of the home.
Time required for lesson
- Copies of the North Carolina Women: Primary Source Comparison Chart — one per student or group
- Computer lab or individual student computers
- Access to the Documenting the American South resources
Students should already have some familiarity with the Progressive Movement in the U.S. prior to this lesson.
- Remind students that they have already learned about the Progressive Movement, and tell them that they will now be learning more about the role of women during this time period.
- Have students access the following documents on their computers. You may choose to have each student read all the documents, or you may choose to have only a few students read each document and then discuss them in jigsaw format.
- The Women’s Association for the Betterment of Public School Houses in NC – pages 1-19
- Mecklenburg Female College – all
- The Carolinian – introduction, especially page 8 (the rest can be skimmed)
- ”Some North Carolinians on Equal Pay“ – Perhaps the most important part of this document is that it actually was written and shared in 1918. Student may wish to skim the various sections but there is no need to read in great detail.
- If using the jigsaw method, have students form small groups so that each person in the group has read a different document. Allow them time to teach each other about the document they read.
- Give each student or group a copy of the North Carolina Women: Primary Source Comparison Chart. You may wish to model how you want them to complete this chart.
- When everyone is finished discussing and analyzing the primary sources, have the students write about or discuss the following prompt: To what extent do women in North Carolina mirror their national counterparts in terms of their work outside of the home and involved in progressive movements? Also, cite examples of the expected “women’s role” in these efforts and evidence of their success.
You may assess each student’s or group’s primary source comparison chart for accuracy and completion. You may also assess students’ responses to prompt put forth at the end of the lesson.
This lesson is designed for advanced history classes.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
Grade 11–12 — United States History
- Goal 7: The Progressive Movement in the United States (1890-1914) -The learner will analyze the economic, political, and social reforms of the Progressive Period.
- Objective 7.02: Analyze how different groups of Americans made economic and political gains in the Progressive Period.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
- 12.C.5 Understand how conflict and consensus influences American culture. 12.C.5.1 Analyze the relationship between conflict and consensus in American literature, philosophy, and the arts. 12.C.5.2 Explain the impact of American slavery on American culture....
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.4 Analyze how conflict and compromise have shaped politics, economics and culture in the United States. USH.H.4.1 Analyze the political issues and conflicts that impacted the United States since Reconstruction and the compromises that resulted (e.g.,...
- Social Studies (2010)