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

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Announcing the first flight
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 1.7
Telegram sent by the Wright brothers to their father, announcing their first successful flight in December 1903.
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)
Archibald Murphey calls for better inland navigation
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 4.7
Excerpt from Archibald Murphey’s Report to the Committee on Inland Navigation in which he calls for the government to invest in the state’s internal transportation system as a way to break their dependency on neighboring states and to increase land values, population and state revenue.
Format: report/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by David Walbert and L. Maren Wood.
The Buncombe Turnpike
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.6
The Buncombe Turnpike began in the early nineteenth century as the Drover's Road through western North Carolina, used to drive livestock to market. The Turnpike brought trade and increased prosperity to the region and especially to Asheville. After the Civil War, economic recession and the rise of railroads led to its decline.
Format: article
Colonial North Carolina
Colonial North Carolina from the establishment of the Carolina in 1663 to the eve of the American Revolution in 1763. Compares the original vision for the colony with the way it actually developed. Covers the people who settled North Carolina; the growth of institutions, trade, and slavery; the impact of colonization on American Indians; and significant events such as Culpeper's Rebellion, the Tuscarora War, and the French and Indian Wars.
Format: book (multiple pages)
The Dismal Swamp Canal
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.2
Transportation in northeastern North Carolina was extremely difficult in the eighteenth century. The Dismal Swamp Canal, which opened in 1805, enabled passage between the Pasquotank River in North Carolina wih the Elizabeth River in Virginia. Over time the canal was rebuilt and expanded, and today it is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
Electric streetcars
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 1.2
North Carolina's first electric streetcar systems were built between 1889 and 1902. The new form of transportation changed the layout of cities.
Format: article
Elisha Mitchell explores the mountains
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.5
Letter from Elisha Mitchell to his wife while doing a geologic survey in northwestern North Carolina, 1828. Mitchell discusses his work, the places he stayed, and the people he met. Includes historical commentary as well as a contemporary map and a Google map with relevant locations marked.
Format: letter/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by David Walbert and L. Maren Wood.
Estimated cost of the North Carolina Rail Road, 1851
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 5.3
In this activity, students analyze an account of the cost of building the North Carolina Railroad in the 1850s and evaluate how much it cost in "today's dollars."
Format: article
By David Walbert.
The Fayetteville and Western Plank Road
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 5.6
The Fayetteville and Western Plank Road, a wood-paved highway, connected the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina with the Moravian settlements at Salem.
Format: article
Freedom Ride
In Postwar North Carolina, page 3.2
In 1946, the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of passengers on interstate buses was an "undue burden on interstate commerce"and could not be enforced. The following year, sixteen people set off on a tour of southern cities to test the laws. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, four riders were arrested in Chapel Hill.
Format: article
The Freedom Riders
In Postwar North Carolina, page 5.5
The Supreme Court ruled in 1960 that all buses and facilities associated with interstate travel must be desegregated. But blacks who used whites-only waiting rooms and refused to give up their seats to whites faced mob violence. Their refusal either to stop or to fight back showed Americans -- many for the first time -- the hard reality of racial oppression.
Format: book
The Good Roads movement
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 1.11
The first document on this page is a letter written by the president of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, W. A. McGritt, to the state’s governor, Thomas Bickett. The second is from a pamphlet published by the association, encouraging citizens to support a tax for the construction of roads. Historical commentary provides a short history of the Good Roads movement.
Format: letter/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
The growth of tourism: Southern Pines
In North Carolina in the New South, page 5.10
Report on a trip by doctors to Southern Pines, North Carolina, suggesting that its healthful climate made it an excellent destination for urban tourists and people recovering from illnesses. Includes historical commentary.
Format: article/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Henry Ford and the Model T
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 1.9
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 8.4
Short biography of Henry Ford explains how he revolutionized manufacturing by using a continuous moving assembly line. Includes a film from the Henry Ford Estate showing how the Model T worked.
Format: article
How a canal works
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.3
Canals operate by a series of locks that raise and lower water levels. In this animation, the boat enters the lock from downstream, where the water level is lower. The gate shuts behind it, and water...
Format: animation
Industrialization in North Carolina
In North Carolina in the New South, page 2.3
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 2.7
Industrialization needed five things -- capital, labor, raw materials, markets, and transportation -- and in the 1870s, North Carolina had all of them. This article explains the process of industrialization in North Carolina, with maps of factory and railroad growth.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
The Interstate Highway System
In Postwar North Carolina, page 2.2
Planning for an improved national system of highways had begun during the Depression, but it was not until 1956 that President Eisenhower called for a "modern, interstate highway system."
Format: article
Adapted by David Walbert.
Interstate highways from the ground up
In Postwar North Carolina, page 2.3
NCDOT resident engineer Stan Hyatt lived in Madison County most of his life, and he loved hunting and exploring the mountain when he was younger. He helped design and build I-26, a project that meant the destruction of some of the environment where he grew up. He talks about the costs and benefits of highway construction in this interview.
Format: interview
By Kristin Post.
Mapping the Great Wagon Road
In Colonial North Carolina, page 5.2
The Great Wagon Road took eighteenth-century colonists from Philadelphia west into the Appalachian mountains and south into the North Carolina Piedmont. This article describes the route and its history and offers two detailed maps, one from 1751 and one from the present, for comparison.
Format: article
By David Walbert.