History connects generations in Northside

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“I have taken my first grade student to the Planetarium, to the Aquarium and to countless museums, but he has never returned as excited or with such clear memories of what he learned as he did after his tour of Northside,” said a parent to us after a recent visit to Northside Elementary School.  


Above: First graders gather in front of Ms. Patterson’s home.


This comment can be attributed in large part to the amazing participation of lifetime neighbors and history-makers Esphur Foster, Keith Edwards, Willie Mae Patterson, Janie Alston, Thomas Bell, Stan Foushee, Nate Davis, Rev. Albert Williams, and more.  It also is a testament to the power of a curriculum that brings history into dialogue through oral histories, songs, marches, and discussions with those who have shaped history.

Our education programming has deepened even in the midst of growing exponentially to serve over 1200 area students and involve over 30 long-term neighbors. We (mostly Elizabeth, with the support of Brentton and others) developed three curriculum series that were used in k-12 classrooms, college classes, and fellowship seminars. All involve oral histories, neighborhood involvement, and interactive components. These are all being improved for this year’s partnership with Northside, Culbreth, Smith, and Chapel Hill High.

Just a few weeks ago, our education team met with parents and students at Culbreth Elementary School. Here was the feedback from the school Counselor:

“It was an excellent meeting! Your involvement of the children and the power point that created a pathway for multiple conversations was perfect. It was insightful because several of the parents knew and related to those who participated during that time. And, it was a great reminder of what I lived through and sometimes pushed back in memory until a presentation like last night brings it back to the forefront. I am very proud of the accomplishments of our people, for all that we have and still continue to accomplish despite the odds we face.” 

We appreciate all the support of residents, partner schools, and history-makers who continue to make these moments possible. 

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