Race in Charlotte schools
The lesson on this page are designed to help educators teach about school desegregation in the South. In these activities, students immerse themselves in a time period when public schools were first becoming integrated by listening to oral histories of people who experienced this change first-hand.
The following resources and lesson plans have been provided by the University of North Carolina Libraries. To learn more about this topic, read the Race in Charlotte Schools story from UNC Libraries.
- School desegregation pioneers by Dayna Durbin Gleaves
- Grades 8–10 Social Studies
- In this lesson, students will learn about the challenges faced by the first students to desegregate Southern schools. Students will hear oral histories telling the story of desegregation pioneers from Alabama and North Carolina and critically analyze images of school desegregation. They will synthesize the information by writing a narrative from the point of view of a black student desegregating a white school.
- A record of school desegregation: Conduct your own oral history project by Dayna Durbin Gleaves
- Grade 8 Social Studies
- In this unit, students will research the history of school desegregation and will use their knowledge to conduct oral history interviews with community members. Students will reflect on the experience through writing.
- Desegregating public schools: Integrated vs. neighborhood schools by Dayna Durbin Gleaves
- Grades 10-12 English Language Arts and Social Studies
- In this lesson, students will learn about the history of the “separate but equal” U.S. school system and the 1971 Swann case which forced Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to integrate. Students will examine the pros and cons of integration achieved through busing, and will write an argumentative essay drawing on information from oral histories.
- De facto vs. de jure segregation by Dayna Durbin Gleaves
- Grades 10-12 Social Studies
- This lesson will help students understand the difference between de facto and de jure segregation. Students will listen to three oral history excerpts and discuss the experiences of segregation described in each. As a follow-up activity, students will brainstorm solutions to both de facto and de jure segregation.