Community Changes Over Time in Mecklenburg County

Janet Watts Roddie, Elementary teacher, David Cox Elementary School




As a teacher, I have observed that children can be quickly hooked on any subject if it involves people whose personalities, struggles, dreams and experiences can “come alive” for them. I have sought to incorporate that natural curiosity into this curriculum unit about history in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and the changes that occurred during the time period 1800 – 1920. This unit examines economics, education and people that have made a difference in the history of Mecklenburg County and addresses third grade social studies curriculum goals by examining changes over time in the community, family and workplace.

This unit analyzes how economics played a part in the development and growth of Mecklenburg County and North Carolina by studying agriculture, the rise of the cotton industry and subsequent textile mills, and how the building of railroads led to Charlotte and Mecklenburg County becoming a transportation center. Using educational progress to show changes over time in families and communities, this unit explores early education for the white elite to the struggles of segregation and inequality seen by African Americans. By exploring leaders of these time periods, the students will experience how people use leadership and purposeful lives to pursue equality and justice.