Our 2018-2019 Workshops

  • 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. The first session introduces students to the freedom movement and non-violent protest through a multimedia presentation and immersive activities. The second session will put students in the shoes of people who marched for rights to equal citizenship. They’ll start at the Freedom Fighters gateway, then walk to O’Bryant’s Chapel, where they’ll learn freedom songs to sing on their way to Hargraves Recreation Center. There they’ll learn the history of the nation’s BI Navy Band and consider: What does freedom mean to you? They’ll make their own protest signs to carry to the rock wall where Northside teenagers planned the first sit-ins in Chapel Hill–and where they’ll hear from local leaders about their experiences in the youth-led movement. The two-part workshop will give students an informed and direct understanding of how young people like them struggled to end segregation.

“We were like 4, 15 years old. So you marched, you demonstrated. … It was fun to work, to grow and know that you could make a difference, that you could do some things that would make a change.”    Northside resident


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– how to develop good questions; how to shape an effective conversational interview; and how to listen with respect. They will also engage in activities meant to help them remember what they heard and to incorporate it into their own lives. In the second session, students will have the opportunity to practice their questioning skills by interacting with members of the Community Mentor Team.


“It’s one thing to talk about places like Selma that are very far away, but it’s very different when you recognize the places in the photos. … I think that speaks to America’s history of repressing our mistakes. But I’m glad that the conversation is opening up in this country.” — US History high school student


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? Why do we know so little about this prominent part of our past? While college students across the South were beginning to organize for civli rights, teenagers from the former black high school, Lincoln High, took up the charge in Chapel Hill. Students as young as 10 and 11 participated in protests that would ultimately fail to persuade the town’s aldermen to desegregate places of public accommodation (hotels, retail stores, service businesses, restaurants, etc.). It wasn’t until the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 that Black residents gained formal access to local restaurants and schools. Chapel Hill High wasn’t integrated until 1966, but this was only the start of the a freedom struggle that continues today. 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.


“Chapel Hill is typically seen as such a liberal and accepting place but in reality it wasn’t and still isn’t. Today was the first day I had heard anything about the Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill and I’ve lived here my entire life. I think this needs to be talked about more.”   — US History high school student


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. We begin this workshop with a multimedia session engaging students in differences and similarities between historical segregation, desegregation, and contemporary patterns of resegregation. Students will 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. In an optional session, students will talk with members of the Community Mentor team about past and current forms of disenfranchisement.


“I went to a classroom of kids who were suspended from school. And I was talking to them about the areas of racism when I grew up. You can feel them accepting you because they were looking at me and saying, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m going through.’ A lot of them asked questions afterwards. I think I got just as much from it as they did.”   — Member of Community Mentor Team


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.



“I feel really good about what the Jackson Center is doing. The children were very attentive. They had excellent questions. And they were just so inviting. … When it was over it was like, ‘Can we give you a hug?’ And actually, I stood there in that classroom and I hugged every one of them until when I left out of the door. They wanted us to answer those questions. So they gave them to me. … And I’m trying to finish them so that I can actually give them back. It was a great experience for me, absolutely wonderful.”  Member of Community Mentor Team



We work with school partners to ensure that each workshop is age- and course-appropriate. Some Learning Across Generations workshops can be adapted for multiple grades. All workshops are in line with age-specific North Carolina Standard Course of Study specifications.

For copies of our new LAG brochure, contact the Jackson Center: contact@jacksoncenter.info.











To find out more and plan your workshop, call the Jackson Center at 919-960-1670 or email us at contact@jacksoncenter.info.