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.

Slavery across North Carolina
In this lesson, students read excerpts from slave narratives to gain an understanding of how slavery developed in each region of North Carolina and how regional differences created a variety of slave experiences.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Excerpts from James Curry slave narrative
James Curry was born into slavery around 1815 in Person County, North Carolina. In these excerpts from his memoir, he descrbies his mother's experiences as a slave and reflects on the differences between slave labor and paid labor.
Format: book
Jewish prisoners at Buchenwald Concentration Camp
Jewish prisoners at Buchenwald Concentration Camp
Jewish prisoners, used as slave labor during World War II, lie on four-tiered bunks with their food bowls in this photograph taken by Private H. Miller of the United States Army. The prisoners were found sick and starving when they were liberated from Buchenwald...
Format: image/photograph
The life of a slave
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 3.1
Daily life for a slave in North Carolina was incredibly difficult. Slaves, especially those in the field, worked from sunrise until sunset. Even small children and the elderly were not exempt from these long work hours. Slaves were generally allowed a day...
Format: article
Antebellum North Carolina
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the antebellum period (1830–1860). Topics include slavery, daily life, agriculture, industry, technology, and the arts, as well as the events leading to secession and civil war.
Format: book (multiple pages)
North Carolina in the New Nation
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the early national period (1790–1836). Topics include the development of state government and political parties, agriculture, the Great Revival, education, the gold rush, the growth of slavery, Cherokee Removal, and battles over internal improvements and reform.
Format: book (multiple pages)
From proslavery to secession
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 7.1
Between 1830 and 1860, as abolitionism grew in the North, southerners largely stopped questioning the wisdom of slavery and argued strongly for extending it.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
North Carolina History: A Sampler
A sample of the more than 800 pages of our digital textbook for North Carolina history, including background readings, various kinds of primary sources, and multimedia. Also includes an overview of the textbook and how to use it.
Format: (multiple pages)
Interview with Willis Cozart
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 3.5
Federal Writers' Project interview with former slave Willis Cozart. Includes historical commentary. Note: This source contains explicit language or content that requires mature discussion.
Format: interview/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
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 importance of rice to North Carolina
In Colonial North Carolina, page 6.2
Rice was a very profitable crop in the late 1600s. People in foreign lands were already familiar with it, and it was gaining popularity as a food for the growing slave trade. Rice production helped support North Carolina's economy for many years, relying largely on slave labor. The abolition of slavery marked the beginning of the end of rice plantations in North Carolina.
Format: article
By Keri Towery.
Social divisions in antebellum North Carolina
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 1.2
An overview of the social divisions of antebellum North Carolina: large planters and smaller-scale slaveholders, small farmers and skilled laborers, tenant farmers and unskilled laborers, free blacks, and slaves.
Format: article
A slave auction at Wilmington
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 2.6
Letter from a German traveler describing a slave auction in the 1780s. Includes historical commentary.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Eli Whitney and the cotton gin
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 2.4
In 1794, inventor Eli Whitney patented his cotton gin, a machine for removing seeds from cotton. The invention made cotton production -- and with it, slave labor -- far more profitable, and it helped to cement the South's status as an agricultural region and a slave society.
Format: article
James Curry's childhood in slavery
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 3.3
Excerpt from the "Narrative of James Curry, A Fugitive Slave," in which the author recalls his childhood and the experiences of his mother. Includes historical commentary.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
North Carolina history: Grade 4 educator's guide
This educator's guide provides teaching suggestions designed to facilitate using the digital North Carolina history textbook with fourth-grade students.
Format: (multiple pages)
The expansion of slavery and the Missouri Compromise
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 8.8
By 1820, a growing population gave the North a majority in the House of Representatives, but slave and free states still had equal representation in the Senate. The admission of Missouri to the Union as a slave state threatened that balance, but the "Missouri Compromise" maintained it by admitting Maine as a free state and banning slavery in the Lousiana territory north of Missouri's southern boundary. Page includes a map showing U.S. territorial expansion.
Format: article
Benjamin Hedrick
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 7.6
Letter from UNC professor Benjamin Hedrick to the Raleigh North Carolina Standard in 1856 justifying his support of the Republican candidate for President. Hedrick was attacked for his views and would be fired by the university.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by David Walbert.
The Freedmen's Bureau
In North Carolina in the Civil War and Reconstruction, page 8.5
Report by Louisa Jacobs on her and her mother Harriet's work to educate freed people in Savannah, Georgia, after the Civil War. Includes historical commentary.
Format: letter/primary source
The founding of Virginia
In Colonial North Carolina, page 1.1
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 2.3
England planted its first successful North American colony at Jamestown in 1607, but settlers fought Indians and disease, and the colony grew slowly. By the end of the seventeenth century, Virginia had established tobacco as its main crop, a representative government, and slavery as a dominant system of labor.
Format: article
By L. Maren Wood.