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

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Alice Caudle talks about mill work
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 7.5
WPA Federal Writers Project interview with a North Carolia woman about her life and work in textile mills in the early twentieth century. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: interview/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
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)
Children at work: Exposing child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas
In this lesson, students will learn about the use of child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They will learn what life was like for a child worker and then write an investigative news report exposing the practice of child labor in the mills, using quotations from oral histories with former child mill workers and photographs of child laborers taken by social reform photographer Lewis Hine.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
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.
Cotton mills from differing perspectives: Critically analyzing primary documents
In this lesson, students will read two primary source documents: a 1909 pamphlet exposing the use of child labor in the cotton mills of North Carolina, and a weekly newsletter published by the mill companies. Students will also listen to oral history excerpts from mill workers to gain a third perspective. In a critical analysis, students will identify the audiences for both documents, speculate on the motivations of their authors, and examine the historical importance of each document.
Format: lesson plan
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
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
The Great Depression and World War II
Primary sources and readings explore the history of North Carolina and the United States during the Great Depression and World War II (1929–1945).
Format: book (multiple pages)
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 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)
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.
Report of Vice-Consul R. E. Heide on the Resources, Trade and Commerce of North Carolina (1875)
An 1875 report on the population, geography, industry, and natural resources of North Carolina, with particular attention to shipping, navigation, and the production of naval stores.
Format: book (multiple pages)
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 textile mill worker's family
In The Great Depression and World War II, page 3.2
WPA interview with a mill worker in Wake Forest, North Carolina, about her experiences during the Great Depression. Includes historical commentary.
Format: interview/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.