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

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LEARN NC is no longer supported by the UNC School of Education and has been permanently archived. On February 1st, 2018, you will only be able to access these resources through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. We recommend that you print or download resources you may need before February 1st, 2018, after which, you will have to follow these instructions in order to access those resources.

Leaders of the Knights of Labor
Leaders of the Knights of Labor
Format: image/poster
Tobacco workers strike
In North Carolina in the New South, page 3.12
Magazine article describing an unsuccessful strike by tobacco mill workers in Durham, North Carolina, 1881.
Format: magazine/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
North Carolina in the early 20th century
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the first decades of the twentieth century (1900–1929). Topics include changes in technology and transportation, Progressive Era reforms, World War I, women's suffrage, Jim Crow and African American life, the cultural changes of the 1920s, labor and labor unrest, and the Gastonia stirke of 1929.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Child labor in the cotton mills
The resources on this page are designed to help educators teach about what life was like for children working in the cotton mills of North Carolina in the early 20th century. Through these lessons, students will learn about child labor by listening to the oral histories of people who worked in these cotton mills as children.
Format: lesson plan
The Pullman Strike
The Pullman Strike
Pullman strikers outside Arcade Building in Pullman, Chicago. This Illinois National Guard can be seen guarding the building during the Pullman Railroad Strike in 1894.
Format: image/photograph
The Homestead Strike
The Homestead Strike
The Carnegie Steel Works, showing the shield used by the strikers when firing the cannon and watching the Pinkerton men during the Homestead strike.
Format: image/illustration
North Carolina in the New South
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the decades after the Civil War (1870–1900). Topics include changes in agriculture, the growth of cities and industry, the experiences of farmers and mill workers, education, cultural changes, politics and political activism, and the Wilmington Race Riot.
Format: book (multiple pages)
The Gastonia strike
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.1
A strike at Loray Cotton Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1929, led to the killing of the police chief and made national news.
Format: article
Why belong to the union?
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 7.2
Article from Opportunity magazine, 1926, persuading readers to join a union by explaining some of the benefits of union membership. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: article/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
The rise of labor unions
In North Carolina in the New South, page 3.9
Little of the wealth that industry produced went to workers, and improvements in technology further reduced wages without making work any easier or less dangerous. In the late ninenteenth century, workers began to organize to demand higher wages and better working conditions.
Format: article
Opposition to the Knights of Labor
In North Carolina in the New South, page 3.11
Editorial in a Durham newspaper, 1887, expressing concern about the Knights of Labor. Includes historical commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Ending child labor in North Carolina
In The Great Depression and World War II, page 2.1
The movement to ban child labor began in the early 1900s and slowly turned the tide of public opinion. As mill work changed in the 1920s, mills employed fewer children. North Carolina finally regulated child labor in 1933.
Format: article
A union organizer blames the mill
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.4
Article printed by the Gastonia Daily Gazette during the Loray Mill strike in 1929, one of the few printed that represented the views of the strikers. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
The Knights of Labor
In North Carolina in the New South, page 3.10
Excerpt from the 1878 Platform of the Knights of Labor, an early labor union. Includes historical commentary.
Format: declaration/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by David Walbert.
An industry representative visits Loray Mills
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.3
Article from the Charlotte Observer during the Loray Mill strike in Gastonia, 1929. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Turning the century
Students will create a museum display illustrating life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Social Studies)
By Lisa Stamey.
Work and protest: Voices
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 7.4
Excerpts from oral history interviews with textile mill workers about labor unrest in the 1920s and 1930s. Includes historical background.
Format: interview/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Labor unions in the cotton mills
In this lesson, students will learn about the labor union movement in the U.S. by listening to oral histories, and they will then deliver a persuasive speech arguing for or against unionization.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
The Mill Mother's Lament
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.8
Song by labor activist Ella Mae Wiggins sung during the Loray Mill strike in Gastonia, 1929. Includes biographical information about Wiggins.
Format: music/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Ila Hartsell Dodson oral history excerpt (labor unions)
Ila Hartsell Dodson was born in 1907 in South Carolina and began working in the Brandon Cotton Mill at age 14. Her mother, father, and all of her nine siblings worked for various cotton mills in North and South Carolina. She met her husband working in the...
Format: audio/interview