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.

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Child labor in North Carolina's textile mills
The photographs of Lewis Hine show the lives and work of children in North Carolina's textile mill villages in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Format: slideshow (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
Old Gilliam Mill
Located on Big Pocket Creek, the mill was built by Howell and John Gilliam in 1856. It is one of the largest grist and cotton mills in Central North Carolina.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
White Oak Cotton Mills (postcard)
White Oak Cotton Mills (postcard)
Postcard shows the White Oak Cotton Mills (a division of Greensboro-based Cone Mills) and several houses in the mill village. A river runs between the mill and the village.
Format: image/ephemera
Some of the larger spinners in Catawba Cotton Mills, Newton, N.C.
Some of the larger spinners in Catawba Cotton Mills, Newton, N.C.
Format: image/photograph
Making yarn in a cotton mill
Making yarn in a cotton mill
A worker at White Oak Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina, makes yarn.
Format: image/photograph
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.
Demolition of the Fieldcrest Cannon Mills
Demolition of the Fieldcrest Cannon Mills
This is a photo taken during the demolition of the Fieldcrest Cannon Mills in Kannapolis, North Carolina, in 2004. The area is now home to the Fieldcrest Cannon Village and Textile Museum, which tells of the mill town's history and legacy.
Format: image/photograph
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.
Railroads and textile mills in North Carolina, 1896
Railroads and textile mills in North Carolina, 1896
Format: image/map
Railroads and tobacco mills in North Carolina, 1896
Railroads and tobacco mills in North Carolina, 1896
Format: image/map
From field to bowl
In Rice farming and rural life in Vietnam, page 11
Harvested rice grains generally are stored in their husks until needed for food. At that time, the husks must be removed either in large stone or wood mortars with pestles wielded by farmers, or by the kind of mechanical threshing machine seen here. Such machines...
By Lorraine Aragon.
Housing conditions of the workers in Cannon Mills, Concord, North Carolina
Housing conditions of the workers in Cannon Mills, Concord, North Carolina
This photograph of mill town housing in Concord, North Carolina shows the conditions that workers for the Cannon textile mill lived in. The clapboard houses are very small and sit in the shadow of the mill with its smokestacks billowing dark smoke. The yards...
Format: image/photograph
Alice P. Evitt oral history excerpt (child labor)
Alice P. Evitt was born in 1898 and began working at the cotton mills near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1910 when she was 12 years old. She worked 12 hours a day, every day except Sunday, and earned 25 cents a day for her work. In this except, Ms. Evitt talks...
Format: audio/interview
Textile mills in North Carolina, 1896
Textile mills in North Carolina, 1896
Map shows locations of North Carolina cotton and woolen mills, 1896. Counties are drawn with present-day boundaries for reference.
Format: image/map
Mill houses in Kannapolis, NC
Mill houses in Kannapolis, NC
These are mill houses in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Kannapolis was formerly dominated by the textile industry, but many of the mills that surrounded the area have been shut down or demolished.
Format: image/photograph
Child labor
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 7.1
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 7.7
Slideshow Lewis Hine, photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, documented child labor across...
Format: article
Doffers in Trenton Mills, Gastonia, N.C.
Doffers in Trenton Mills, Gastonia, N.C.
Four young boys called doffers can be seen pushing bins full of bobbins of thread through a textile mill in this photograph taken in 1908. Doffers replaced the full bobbins with empty ones in the spinning area of the mill. The sepia photograph shows the spinning...
Format: image/photograph
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.
The Alamance Cotton Mill
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 4.7
In 1837, Edwin Holt founded the Alamance Cotton Mill, which began the industrial development of Alamance County. The mill produced the first colored fabrics in the South, including the popular "Alamance Plaid."
Format: article