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Franklin Research Center - Teaching with Primary Sources

This guide contains modules for remote learning with primary sources held in the Rubenstein Library with collections from the John Hope Franklin Research Center

Durham's Parrish Street, 1930s

Document Analysis Worksheet

Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center

John Gartrell's picture
John Gartrell
Contact:
Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture

Box 90185

Durham, NC 27708

919-660-5922
Website

Desegregating Durham

Following the end of the Civil War in 1865, freed African Americans in North Carolina began to settle into an enclave sandwiched between Wake and Orange Counties affectionately called Hayti (pronounced Hay-tie). Even after it became of the incorporated into the city of Durham, Hayti served as a beacon where black owned businesses thrived and developed it's own "Black Wall Street" as the nineteenth century transitioned to the twentieth century. The African American community proved a shining example of social, economical, educational, and cultural prominence in the Jim Crow New South. With the emergence of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the mid-20th century, Durham was also a home of activism and advocacy for social justice and equality.  

Inside the this lesson you will explore primary sources from the Rubenstein Library's collections that document black life under Jim Crow and desegregation in Durham, NC.

Learning Objectives

Durham was one of the great hubs of commerce for African Americans in the United States during the early and mid-twentieth century. But even with the great economic accomplishments, the African American community could not escape the overbearing shadow of the Jim Crow South. This module is designed to provide a glimpse into the process and protest of desegregating Durham, NC. Users will:

  • Be exposed to a diverse set of primary sources (documents and oral histories) 
  • Work in groups to discuss and analyze primary sources.
  • Better understand the limitations of segregation from the perspective of the African American community.
  • Learn how African Americans in Durham organized on the local level to overcome segregation.

Guiding Questions 

What are some of the differences in your research experience using a written source versus an audio source?

How does the Durham story confirm or counter what you already know about the Civil Rights Movement?

What can you learn by analyzing desegregation on a local context?

 

Instructions

  1. Students can be split up into small groups, and each group will be assigned a tab to examine. 
  2. Spend some time (10-15 minutes) reading and investigating the source. There will be brief descriptions of the individual and their significance to Durham history within each tab. Use the "Document Analysis Worksheet" on the module's homepage side to guide your analysis. You may analyze individually or collectively as a group. Take notes as you go so you're prepared to share the entire class. 
  3. After everyone in your small group has had a chance read and analyze the source on their own, work within your small group to share your reactions/thoughts on the sources.
  4. Finally, each group will share what they’ve learned with the whole class. As the groups share, think about how your set of documents connects to the others, note common themes you notice, and ask questions of each other.
  5. Optional - small groups can examine more than one of the sources, if time permits.

This activity can work for a synchronous (e.g., a Zoom/Google meet class session that includes breakout rooms) or asynchronous (e.g., a multi-step discussion on a Sakai/Blackboard forum) class sessions.