Learning Across Generations: Learn more about our 2018-2019 Workshops









Learning Across Generations is a dynamic curriculum designed to enable young people to take up the legacy of Chapel Hill’s Northside community. Led by a Community Mentor Team, Learning Across Generations invites students of all ages to learn the history beneath their feet.

Responding to both the persistent achievement gap in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School (CHCCS) District and various pleas from teachers for more substantial education in Black history, Learning Across Generations (LAG) is an innovative K-12 curriculum composed of local, civil rights, and oral history workshops, an audio immersion program, and experiential learning trips. Through the Learning Across Generations curriculum, we partner with teachers and schools to lift up the struggle and courage of Northside neighbors, to ensure that young people know an essential part of their common past, and to invite all into making history today.

At the core of our educational work is  the Community Mentor Team, a group of senior educators  and civil rights leaders committed to teaching by telling their life histories.  By sharing their experiences living in Northside before, during, and after the civil rights movement, they bring history alive for students–and fulfill the longstanding tradition of passing on Northside’s proud history to the next generation. Mentors ignite interest in history and  make powerful connections with students as they share memories of struggle, resilience, and hard-earned hope.


Workshops by theme:

  • Northside Community Pillars  Workshop
  • Freedom Walk Project
  • Oral History Workshop
  • Civil Rights Workshop
  • Citizen Workshop
  • The TYS (Telling Your Story) Project


Northside Community Pillars Workshop

What is community? This workshop introduces students to the history of the vibrant, close-knit Northside community, a historically Black  community that emerged in the early part of the 20th century. Under Jim Crow, Northside neighbors built a thriving and abundant community balanced on what many neighbors call “four pillars”:  school, home, church, and business. Designed as a field trip opportunity, students are invited to follow in the footsteps of generations of Northsiders.

In part two of the workshop, students will collaborate to create an illustrated  storybook. The Chronicles of Northside are oral-history based storybooks aimed at honoring the lives and memories of our neighbors. Examples of these stories are titled below:

  1. [School] Ms. Carol’s First March
  2. [Business] Mr. Bynum Weaver Opens a Store
  3. [Church] Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around – The Clementine Self Story
  4. [Home] Home is Where Our Heart is – The Keith Edwards Story

A variation of the Community Pillars Workshop called, “Northside Then and Now,”  is offered for the upper-elementary grades. Students will revisit the four pillars and scavenge for evidence of continuity and change.


Freedom Walk Workshop

Where can we find the roots of  Chapel Hill’s civil rights movement? This two-part workshop offers a first-hand experience of the Northside community and  gives students an informed and direct understanding of how young people like them struggled to end segregation.


Oral History Workshop

What is oral history and why should we do it? This workshop will prepare students to talk with neighbors and elders whose histories may be lost without active listening and retelling.  In this hands-on workshop, students will learn basic methods, ethics, and values of oral history, and have the opportunity to practice skills by interacting with members of the Community Mentor Team.


Civil Rights Workshop (The Hidden Hill)

How does the long, local desegregation and civil rights struggle relate to Chapel Hill’s reputation for liberal politics?  We’ll engage students in crossing back and forth between the past and present through both primary sources, including photographs from renowned photojournalist, Jim Wallace, and selections from oral histories of local activists, and expressive arts and spoken word poetry.


The Citizen Workshop

What does it mean to be a citizen?  In this workshop, students will learn about citizenship struggles in the past and consider what barriers– legal and otherwise–keep certain groups or individuals from enjoying the full rights and benefits of belonging, whether on a soccer team or at the polls. Students engage with voices and  images from the freedom movement in Chapel Hill in the 1960s and more familiar ones from the Black Lives Matter movement, protests against police and gun violence, and other instances of youth activism today.


The Telling Your Story  Project

Based on the Jackson Center’s award-winning Fusion Youth Radio program, this semester-long,  audio/video immersion program is an innovative and creative approach to cultivating community leadership among diverse, local middle and high school students. Integrating media arts and performance with collaborative  research, Telling Your Story gives  students a digital platform on which to explore the past, present, and future of civil rights nationally and  in their own lives. In addition to building public speaking, critical thinking, narrative production, and audio editing skills, the workshop prepares students to bring the power of their perspectives to bear in making history today.


To find out more and plan your workshop, call the Jackson Center at 919-960-1670 or email Jackson Center Education Director, Andrea Wuerth, at andrea@jacksoncenter.info.

A Glimpse at Our Work

In addition to our curriculum brochure (left), photos and testimonials from our workshop offerings are shown below.
Carrboro High School student participating in a Civil Rights in Chapel Hill workshop, The Hidden Hill.
Carrboro High School student participating in a Civil Rights in Chapel Hill workshop, \"The Hidden Hill.\"
Northside Elementary students leading a freedom march during their tour around the Northside neighborhood, a primary and historic site of the civil rights efforts in Chapel Hill.
Students comparatively viewing a photo of the Bynum Weaver Grocery Store to the current residential housing office during their tour of Northside.
Community mentor Mama Kat sharing stories of her children protesting during the Civil Rights Movement and answering questions of students during an Arts & Methods of Oral History workshop at Lakewood Montessori Middle School.