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Going to the Show: Lesson Plans

Explore and compare and contrast the business environment in Wilmington, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina in the early 1900s by exploring the city directories


Introduction  |   Activity 1  |   Activity 2-6  |   Worksheet (pdf)  |   Learn More


Activity 2

If you explore the Public Schools and Church Directory sections, note that there are schools identified as "colored," and that the churches are organized by both denomination / faith, with a separate section for "Colored Churches."

The next activity allows students to explore the Wilmington city directory from the same time period, 1905. The Wilmington city directory was, likewise, published by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, and is reasonably analogous to a telephone directory that provides listings of government, public and commercial businesses, and proprietors and residents. The Wilmington City Directory also denoted colored racial affiliations with an asterisk (*).

Students will continue to fill out their City Directory Worksheet, recording their initial findings as they work through Wilmington and then subsequent years for both Charlotte and Wilmington.

For this lesson, you will focus on business categories you explored for Charlotte.

If students have individual computer access, have them follow along as you go through the following steps:

  1. go to the 1905 Wilmington city directory website: http://www.archive.org/details/wilmingtonncdire1905hill
  2. Select the Read Online option from the View the book block.
  3. Explore the navigation features:
    • Page by page: Click on the right-facing page to advance forward a page, click on the left-facing page to advance backward a page.
      Use the right arrow or left arrow found in the header space to advance page by page
    • Jump to a section: Click on a relative location of the vertical "stacked pages" to move to that "section" of the book
    • Note: for navigating through the document, you may want to use the 2-page view. However, for clearer viewing of the text, you may want to toggle to the single-page view (button found to the right of the zoom options)
  4. Starting at the beginning of the city directory, click the right page 2 times to display the 1905 introduction to Wilmington, N.C. - Its Growth and Resources (pages 7-9). This provides a quick synopsis about Wilmington. Consider as you review the introduction, what is the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce's purpose in publishing this information? Who were the audiences for this publication? How might historians use this information? How should historians consider this information? How is this similar/different from Charlotte's introduction? What does Wilmington focus on? What did Charlotte focus on? How do the economic conditions differ between Wilmington and Charlotte? Teacher Note: For high school students, you might be able to put a lesson together around an economic analysis and comparison.
  5. Page forward one more page by clicking the right page to display the General Index. This provides the general layout of the directory. We're interested in the "categorical" business listings to explore the businesses similar to what was identified in the textbook. You will see that the "Business Directory" is listed on pages 351.
  6. Page forward one more page by clicking the right page to display the General Index. This provides the general layout of the directory. We're interested in the "categorical" business listings to explore the businesses similar to what was identified in the textbook. You will see that the "Business Directory" is listed on pages 351.
  7. Point your mouse about 3/4 through the vertical page leafs, and you should see a mouse-over hint that displays the page you're pointing at. You want to get near page 351. Page 351 provides the first page of a categorically organized listing. Revisit the categories you explored in Activity 1, and record the number of businesses for each of those categories on your City Directory Worksheet.

Activity 3: Exploring and Analyzing the 1913 Charlotte City Directory: 15 minutes (individually or in small groups):
Repeat the above activities using the 1913 Charlotte City Directory website
http://www.archive.org/details/charlottenorthca1913pied. Continue to fill out the City Directory Worksheet.

Activity 4: Exploring and Analyzing the 1913-14 Wilmington City Directory: 15 minutes (individually or in small groups):
Repeat the above activities using the 1913-1914 Wilmington City Directory website
http://www.archive.org/stream/wilmingtonncdire1913hill. Continue to fill out the City Directory Worksheet.

Activity 5: Exploring and Analyzing the 1920 Charlotte City Directory: 15 minutes (individually or in small groups):
Repeat the above activities using the 1920 Charlotte City Directory website
http://www.archive.org/details/charlottenorthca1920pied. Continue to fill out the City Directory Worksheet.

Activity 6: Exploring and Analyzing the 1919-1920 Wilmington City Directory: 15 minutes (individually or in small groups):
Repeat the above activities using the 1919-1920 Wilmington City Directory website
http://www.archive.org/stream/wilmingtonncdire1919hill. Continue to fill out the City Directory Worksheet.

Activity 7: Analysis and Assessment: 30 minutes (individually or in small groups):
Once students have gathered the data, have them compare across the cities and across time. Have them initially look for trends: did the number of businesses grow or shrink over time within a city? Did one city seem to have a significantly larger / smaller number of businesses within a category than the other city? Do students have any theories on what might be the basis for these differences? They can also look for other trends.

You might want to remind students that in 1900, Wilmington was the largest city in North Carolina, but by 1910, Charlotte had surpassed Wilmington and was the largest city. Is this reflected in any of the data? Why or why not? What does the business data reflect about the general economics of the city? Does the city appear to be growing? shrinking? What can you tell about communications? What can you tell about transportation? (Refer students back to the general technological advancements that were noted in their text book, A Journey Through North Carolina, pages 270-271.)

You might want to ask students to record observations regarding racial segregation, as noted in the city directories. You might want to inform students that prior to 1898, Wilmington's population was approximately 50% African American, and was a reasonably well integrated city. However, in 1898 there was a race riot (see side bar for additional resources), and after that Wilmington became a more racially segregated city.

(Optional): If you want to use this lesson in conjunction with a discussion on segregation, have students summarize and analyze the business categories that exhibited racial coding in the city directories. To get a broader picture of segregation, you might want to include a discussion of the 1898 race riot in Wilmington (see sidebar), and should probably have students also look at churches and schools in the city directories. The 1898 Race Riot Commission Report also includes maps of Wilmington that illustrated locations of white and African American residential neighborhoods, and facilities including churches, schools and fire stations. You could probably even formulate an entire lesson solely focused around the 1898 race riot in Wilmington.

(Optional): If you want students to practice graphical charting skills, you can ask them to chart their results, and thus have a "picture" of the numerical data. Graph paper and 2 colored pencils to draw a graph for each business categorym might suffice for this activity.

(Optional): The above activities really focus at the "macro" level. If you want students to work on a more detailed level and practice their map skills, pick a particular business category (one that doesn't have too many businesses) and have students locate them on a Sanborn map. They should be able to get the address from the city directory. They will likely need to use Google Maps to get a location for the address, as the Sanborn Maps do not support an address search feature. You could ask students to draw on the map the locations for the businesses, and discuss their relative locations and distribution within the city. How far away from each other are they? Are they close? Are they far? What other businesses are they near? Do they appear to be near related or symbiotic businesses?

Charlotte Sanborn Maps
Wilmington Sanborn Maps

Activity 8: Report Out: 30 minutes (individually or in small groups):
After students have completed their analysis and assessment, ask each student / group to report on their most significant findings. Teachers could assign a subset of one or more business categories to each student / group to report back to the rest of the class.

Wrap-up
Teachers might want to conclude the session with a 5-minute collective wrap-up discussion and ask the students to share: What was most interesting? What was most surprising? Did it make them think about the use of images and image processing today any differently? Are there any major historical or contemporary questions that their explorations generated? Where might they go to get answers to those questions?

ASSESSMENT
Assessment will be based on the students' image analysis and the completion of their Evolution of Transportation worksheets, and their participation in the class discussions during Activities 1, 2, and 3. Teachers can determine how much weight each part of the lesson and what specific rubric to use based on their own teaching / learning priorities and classroom practices. The following questions will help you think about how to assess a student's work for various parts of the lesson:

City Directory Worksheet:
Did the student successfully gather the data from the City Directories?

Analysis and Assessment:

Discussions & Classroom Activities:

Introduction  |   Activity 1  |   Activity 2-6  |   Worksheet (pdf)  |   Learn More