Student Projects

Since its beginnings, the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History has been dedicated to bringing local Black history, told by the people who have lived it, to the next generations of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County. Over the years, the life histories of neighbors have informed and inspired young people to create their own projects and share what they have learned in creative ways.

The Jackson Center’s Learning Across Generations curriculum, lesson plans created from our Teachers, Artisans, and Entrepreneurs project, and curriculum materials created by educators in our teacher professional development workshops have made sure that content from From the Rock Wall is regularly taught in our local school systems. Teachers in the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools and other local districts have shared some of the work their students have proudly created. We have plans to continue holding summer teachers’ institutes to ensure that more teachers have an opportunity to dig deeply into the rich primary sources contained on this site and inspire their students to create their own scholarship, art, and creative projects based on what they discover there.

Some students encounter From the Rock Wall outside of the traditional classroom, either in afterschool programs or the Jackson Center’s annual Sankofa Freedom School. In 2023, Freedom School students explored newspaper clippings, oral history clips, and other sources about environmental justice in the Rogers Road neighborhood and conducted interviews with members of that community. Their final projects were mini-audio-documentaries focused on different aspects of the fight against the landfill, the history of the Rogers Road community, and the value of community organizing.

Being so close to UNC-Chapel Hill, the Jackson Center also frequently collaborates with undergraduate classes and graduate programs at the university. We regularly rely on student service partners to support our efforts by processing interviews – nearly every interview on this site had its tape-log, transcript, abstract, and other finding aids created by UNC students. We also regularly train student volunteers as interviewers and are fortunate to have student interns and summer fellows join our team regularly. We have had Capstone students from the Gillings School of Public Health conduct interviews and create resources focused on health care and informal community caregiving. In 2023, we worked closely with students in the Geography department who collaborated with Culture Mill and the Carolina Performing Artson a performance art piece about Black builders and the built environment at UNC.

Take a look at some of the projects here and get inspired to create something new from what you find on From the Rock Wall. If you are a teacher whose students want to share their work here, or if you would like to know more about the educational resources available to educators, please click the RESPOND button and get in touch with us! We look forward to hearing from you!

"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"

Ms. Esphur Foster

Want to add in?  Have a different view?  What do you think? Want to upload your own photos or documents?

History is not the past.  It’s the sense we make of the past now. Click below to RESPOND—and be part of making history today.