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

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Congress considers an inquiry into textile strikes
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.6
Newspaper article about a congressional debate about southern textile strikes, 1929. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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
The Piedmont Leaf Tobacco Plant Strike, 1946
In Postwar North Carolina, page 3.3
In the 1940s, a national labor union launched a wide-ranging attempt to unionize workers in the South. This movement was known as Operation Dixie, and some of its key battles were fought in Forsyth County.
Format: article
The police chief is killed
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.7
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 4.7
Article from the Gastonia Daily Gazette about the killing of the town's police chief during the 1929 Loray Mill strike. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Postwar North Carolina
Primary sources and readings explore the history of North Carolina and the United States during the postwar era (1945–1975).
Format: book (multiple pages)
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
The strike begins
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.2
Article from the Gastonia Daily Gazette at the beginning of the Loray Mill strike in 1929. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
The strikers move into tents
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 8.5
Article from the Gastonia Daily Gazette printed during the Loray Mill strike, 1929. Striking workers were thrown out of their houses, which were owned by the mill. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: newspaper/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
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.
Work and protest, 1920–1934
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 7.3
In response to declining demand in the 1920s, textile mill owners cut wages and demanded longer hours from their workers. Labor unrest increased, and there were widespread strikes from 1929 to 1934.
Format: article
By James Leloudis and Kathryn Walbert.
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.