Our Community. Our Stories.

"As long as it’s a struggle, I know you’re trying."

Mr. Harold Foster

Tap into eight generations of joy and struggle here.  Explore images and themes.

A Place at the Table: Food Histories

A Place at the Table is not about recipes. While there’s a lot of good food here, A Place at the Table is more about food traditions and foodways: the ways that food connects, nourishes, sustains, and honors family and community. Here you’ll hear…


Before the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 required white restaurants and businesses to open to Black patrons, Black residents served themselves, whether in Durham’s bustling Black business districts or in the Black-owned shops, restaurants, hotel,…


Make a joyful noise (Psalm 100).  Celebration is an act of faith, triumph, unity, and renewal.  Joyful rituals abound across the past, in the present, and into the future of Black Chapel Hill/Carrboro.  Whether after church at the Dairy Bar, during…

Civil Rights in Chapel Hill, Photographs by Jim Wallace

Jim Wallace was one of several photographers on the ground during the civil rights struggle in Chapel Hill from 1961-1964, a movement led by local Black youth who attended the segregated Lincoln High School.  A student at UNC at Chapel Hill, Jim was…

Facing Our Neighbors

Who are our neighbors? What makes a neighborhood strong? How can and should we be neighbors in the face of rapid change?

In the historic "Northside" area of Chapel Hill / Carrboro, North Carolina, economic development, food insecurity, and homelessness are on the rise. Home ownership is on the downswing; student rentals are popping up everywhere; truly affordable housing is hard to come by. Formerly segregated neighborhoods are becoming increasingly diverse. In the spring of 2010, university students and friends and staff of the Jackson Center for Saving and Making History began to ask people who live and work around the historic Northside of Chapel Hill / Carrboro about the nature and future of the neighborhood. One result was an interactive exhibit and May Day Festival of which this online exhibit is but a token.

You'll see here portraits of some of our neighbors, reflections by others, and excerpts from poems by local youth about what it means to live together in a changing world.


Food is nourishment. Food is family. Listen to the ways people do, think, and experience food and you’ll learn about how food makes community, sustains families, and shapes identities. Search for food and foodways—and you may also find out how to…

Hargraves Community Center

You may think of a community center as something like your local YMCA.  Hargraves is that and so much more.  Community-built and community-led, Hargraves is the heart of Northside.  In 1939, with fiscal support from the Works Progress Administration…

History of Homes

Long-term residents of Northside community, and the surrounding Chapel-Hill/Carrboro area share their experiences with gentrification, city planning, and family home building. These oral histories provide insight into how neighborhoods were…

Life Histories

In this oral history series long-term Northside residents share their personal background and connection to Northside. Most oral histories include their family heritage, education, religious beliefs, and memories of youth. Interviews may also include…

Lincoln High School

Knowledge is power.  Since Reconstruction and the establishment of the first Freedmen’s School on the western edge of Chapel Hill (where Crook’s Corner is now) in the mid-1800s, the Black community has invested in the education of its youth. …

Teachers, Artisans, and Entrepreneurs: Black Work in a Southern Town

Welcome to Teachers, Artisans, and Entrepreneurs: Black Work in a Southern Town. Join us in a virtual exhibit that takes you through different locations in Chapel Hill to learn about the ingenuity necessary to creating and sustaining a thriving economy for Black Chapel Hill/Carrboro.

For generations, the Black population in southern Orange County has been part of a vast labor network. Their labor has supported and cared for community members near and far. Formal and informal labor helped neighbors create an independent economy that helped them fight against white supremacy. Black workers are changemakers. Together, they have brought an enormous amount of creativity and care to their work, building a community of abundance.

Thank you to Clementine Self and Reverend Albert Williams for sharing their knowledge and providing critical feedback, and to Kimber Heinz and Scaffold Exhibits & Consulting.

The Marian Cheek Jackson Center received an American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant from North Carolina Humanities, www.nchumanities.org. Funding for this grant was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act economic stabilization plan.

Along with NC Humanities, this exhibit was made possible by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation.


The Freedom Movement

Spurred by the lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro and by the actions of high school students determined to gain fair and open access to places that served the public, the Freedom Movement in Chapel Hill was supposed to break the way for cities and…

The Northside News

The Northside News is our monthly "print link." Delivered hand-to-hand to more than 1000 households in Northside and Pine Knolls, 6 local churches, dozens of local businesses, Northside Elementary, and Hargraves each month, the Northside News…

The Struggle Continues: Weaving Histories, Stories, Lives

The images in this digital exhibit were part of a physical exhibit produced by the Jackson Center in happy collaboration with the Chapel Hill Public Library.  All of the documentary portraits of Northside neighbords were produced under the direction of their subjects. Many of the topics and people represented in this exhibit have done oral history interviews with the Jackson Center and they are available within this site.  All of the images from Chapel Hill High School students were developed in collaboration with Holly Loranger's U.S. History: Arts Focus course at Chapel Hill High.  The images from and of students K-8 are part of the Jackson Center's archive of images from its Learning Across Generations curriculum, a series of oral and local history workshops offered in area classrooms and on-site in Northside neighborhoods.  The Jackson Center is indebted to Jim Wallace for the donation of over one hundred prints of photos he took as a photographer for UNC's Daily Tar Heel in the early 1960s.  A selection of these photos are featured in his book Courage in the Moment: The Civil Rights Struggle, 1961-1964.

Work and Labor

Working at the University has been a source of pride and resentment for Northside neighbors who built the early dorms, hospital, South Building, laid the brick walkways, hauled washing water from the “old well” to students in Old East, did copious…