Learning Across Generations – Table of Contents

Lesson 2: Northside Community Pillars Mural Project

Teachers: access the lesson plan by clicking here!


Talk about the meaning and the importance of community through  listening, drawing, discussion and movement.



1. To introduce the rich history of the Northside and other African American communities.


2. To understand what community is and the four “pillars” that make up the Northside community.


3. To encourage  reflection on their own communities.



  • pencils, colored pencils, and markers


  • big piece of butcher paper to serve as background for mural


1. Write for 1 minuted about what community is. Ask someone in your family how they would describe it.


2. Northside was an all-Black neighborhood in Chapel Hill very close to UNC. It was actually a name for a  few neighborhoods: Sunset, Pottersfield, tin Top, Knolls, and Windy Hall (see map above). Today people of all ages and races live there, including UNC students.

In the past, Black people were not allowed to live in other neighborhoods, go to school or church or most restaurants with white people in Chapel Hill until 1964.Schools were desegregated in 1967. Do you know what segregation is?


The 4 main community pillars are  home, school, church and business.


Home- doesn’t matter how big or small. Ms. Keith lived with her very large family in a small house, but it is “home”. What do you think makes a house? Homes and neighborhoods were full of love and places safe from racism. Back then everyone knew their neighbors.


School- Importance of feeling comfortable and cared for. School is about all! You deserve to feel safe. Name the best 3 things about school.


Church- Do you think church is for every and anyone? White churches weren’t always welcoming to Black people. Church was extremely important for the community because it was a safe place for acceptance and encouragement.


Business- point out the way that the Weavers ran a small store that sold snacks.The Weavers knew all kids who came into the store. Do you know everyone who you interact with? Some other businesses like movie theater, restaurants, motel, barber shops, shoe repair shops, grocery stores, ice cream shops were segregated. There was a Black business district with stores owned by Black people right next to Northside. When Black folks wanted to shop at white-owned stores they were not treated fairly and in many cases (like restaurants and hotels) they weren’t allowed to enter at all.


3.  Members  of the community knew and provided support for one another. This helped them to feel strong and confident by increasing their self-worth.


4. Now it’s time for the mural activity!

  • Get a  couple of pictures, extra paper, markers, and colored pencils.
  • Spend time coloring the pictures and drawing houses until you find a community.
  • Add  anything you would like to the mural that should be a part of the community ( nature, places to play, etc).


6. Get a teacher or parent to help glue your work to the butcher paper. Once you have several items of a community admire admire the work that home, school, church, and business created.


Don’t forget to take a few pictures!

Teachers: access the 2020-2021 teacher survey by clicking here!