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. 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.

To schedule a workshop or learn more, contact Aisha Booze-hall or Joshua Norrell.

Our Workshop Model

Address the persistent racial achievement gap. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District continues to have one of the largest race-based achievement gaps in the country. Many long-term Northside residents believe that this equity gap stems from the way that integration happened. School integration in this area largely meant assimilation for Black and Brown students while most BIPOC staff were demoted or fired. Thus began a racial equity gap that persists to this day. Our program works to bridge this gap.

Disrupt conventional history. Learning Across Generations was created in 2011 in response to local teachers’ pleas for more Black history and local history resources. Our innovative K-12 curriculum is composed of local, civil rights, and oral history workshops, an audio immersion program, and experiential learning trips.

Provide educational content aligned with state standards. Workshops align with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction state standards for Social Studies and English Language Arts. Workshops also align with the Social Justice standards developed by Learning for Justice, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Center intergenerational learning and lived knowledge. At the core of our educational work is the Community Mentor Team, local civil rights leaders committed to teaching by telling their life histories. Mentors ignite interest in history and make powerful connections with students as they share memories of struggle, resilience, and hard-earned hope.

Workshop Themes

Northside Community Pillars Workshop

Grades K-8

What is community? This two-part workshop introduces students to the vibrant, close-knit Northside community, a historically Black community that emerged in the early 20th century. Students first learn in the classroom about the vibrant history of Northside community life and create a mural centered on what many neighbors call the “four pillars”: home, school, business, and church. Students are then invited to follow in the footsteps of generations of Northsiders on their way from their family homes to Northside Elementary, Mr. Bynum Weaver’s store, St. Bryant’s Chapel, and St. Joseph CME Church. Along the way, they search for evidence of continuity and change. The journey through the neighborhood concludes with a celebration of the abundance of community life.

Community Mentor Team

Freedom Walk Workshop

Grades K-8 and Professional Development

This popular, two-part workshop focuses on the concept and practice of activism and introduces students to some of Northside’s civil rights leaders. In the first session, students learn about the freedom movement and non-violent protest, practice freedom songs, and design their own freedom signs. The second session puts students in the shoes of people who marched for rights of equal citizenship. With their homemade protest signs, students visit the rock wall where Northside teenagers planned the first sit-ins in Chapel Hill. There, students learn about the young people like themselves who struggled to end segregation.

Oral History Workshop

Grades K-12

In this two-part workshop, students engage the experiences, actions, and accomplishments of everyday history-makers—the people who laid the stone walls at UNC, integrated area schools, and risked their lives, jobs, and safety for freedom, people whose histories we only know by listening. The workshop first introduces students to the what, why, and how of oral history through a multimedia presentation and active listening exercises. Students then listen to and to interview one of our community mentors, elders who have lived in the community since childhood and are veterans of the civil rights movement.

The Hidden Hill Workshop

Grades 6-12

Chapel Hill is a town some have referred to as “the Southern part of heaven.” Yet, like the rest of the South, it has a long history of racial struggle. In February 1960, civil rights activists from Chapel Hill’s Black neighborhoods, mostly teenagers from the all-Black Lincoln High, took up the charge in Chapel Hill, planning and staging the first sit-in at Colonial Drug store on Franklin Street. This was only the start of a freedom struggle against local injustices that continues today. In this two-part workshop, we ask: How does the history of enslavement, Jim Crow, and segregation relate to Chapel Hill’s reputation for liberal politics? Why is it important to tell the truth about history critically and boldly? Students delve deeper into civil rights history by listening to a spoken word performance and engaging in a discussion of current social justice struggles.

The Citizen/Action Workshop

Grades 6-12

Designed for high school civics classes, this workshop (offered in 1-3 sessions) focuses on the question: What does it mean to be a citizen? In the first session, students participate in interactive activities such as photo deep-dives designed to encourage critical reflection on how violence and racism have hindered many people from participating in public and political life. A second session features a presentation by a community mentor-activist on a civil and economic rights issue facing local African-American communities today, such as environmental racism and gentrification. A third, optional session features a site visit to local communities—Rogers Road or Northside/Pine Knolls—in which community mentor-activists live and work for social justice. This workshop educates and empowers students to identify current social justice issues and to see themselves as agents of social and political change.

The Story Studio Workshop Series

Grades 6-12

Story Studio is an innovative and creative approach to cultivating community leadership local middle and high school students. An eight-week series of weekly workshops takes students on a journey sparked by the stories of Chapel Hill’s civil rights movement. Informed by the lived knowledge of each storyteller, the project focuses on how personal experiences, religious convictions, family, mentors, teachers, and friends gave them the courage to challenge segregation, racism and injustice in the community. Each week’s activities give students the opportunity to develop their own visions for social justice today by creating original photos and audio recordings.

Food Security & Nutrition Workshop

In this three-part workshop, students learn about nutrition and its impacts on individual health through community elders, BIPOC scientists, and hands-on activities. Students engage directly with Northside community members who worked to impact their community’s health through food security and access to nutritious foods. The workshop also introduces students to the rich history of BIPOC scientists, nutritionists, and food pioneers who have impacted food and nutrition for BIPOC communities. Students then practice making healthy snack alternatives to traditional snacks. 


“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 and also the importance of not getting involved with your emotions, to be okay without getting in trouble… How I felt when I was a bully and going through the situations with peer pressure… 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

“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

“It’s one thing to talk about places like Selma that are far away, but it’s very different when you recognize the places in the photos. I had no idea there was a murder at The Pit and I’m upset that I’d never heard about it. 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.”  – High School Student, AP US History Course, March 2018 

“I am from San Jose California, and racial tension is something I had never seen before I moved to Chapel Hill this January. It was weird for me to see how this ‘utopia’ isn’t all it’s made out to be.”  – High School Student, Standard US History Course, March 2017

We are excited to share with you Learning Across Generations – Online, a free digital curriculum tailored for at-home learning! LAG-Online teaches local students about the powerful civil rights and local histories of our community’s historically Black neighborhoods. Access LAG-Online for free here!

If you are interested in a workshop for your classroom, please contact Aisha Booze-hall at aisha@jacksoncenter.info