Adapting a community-first vision for our Youth & Education program, we ask: Who can tell the history of Northside better than those who actually lived it? Serving as the core of our Learning Across Generations curriculum, our Community Mentor Team is comprised of a group of Northside neighbors and residents who are dedicated to engaging students in our local civil rights history through the sharing and telling of their own personal stories and experiences. Mentors like Reverend Albert Williams were at the forefront of civil rights activism within our town; as part of the Northside Nine, Reverend Williams at the age of 16 participated in the first sit-in at Colonial Drug Store in Chapel Hill, 27 days after the Greensboro 4. Mentors like Mrs. Pat Jackson focused on the powerful influence of the black church on civil rights activism; she was and still is an active member of St. Joseph's CME Church, where protesters gathered prior to the marches and demonstrations that headed towards Franklin St. Mentors like Mama Kat are lifelong residents of Northside, thus being key witnesses to the racial and social change and tension occurring within the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area; in addition to providing context for what Northside and Chapel Hill was like during a period of segregation, Mama Kat also provides the perspective of parents, who were often influenced to not participate in demonstrations for fear of losing their jobs and thus had to worry about their children who were charged to fight for freedom.
We are inspired and driven by our local heroes, and in every moment that we can, we create opportunities for our students to hear their stories and take up their legacies.