Cotton mills from differing perspectives: Critically analyzing primary documents

In this lesson, students will read two primary source documents from Documenting the American South, a digital library collection sponsored by the UNC Libraries. One document is a pamphlet published in 1909 by the National Child Labor Committee exposing the use of child labor in the cotton mills of North Carolina. The other document is Mill News, a weekly newsletter about the Southern cotton industry that was paid for and published by the mill companies themselves. Students will also listen to oral history excerpts from mill workers to gain a third perspective. In a critical analysis, students will identify the audiences for both documents, speculate on the motivations and intentions of their authors, and examine the historical importance of each document.

Author
Dayna Durbin Gleaves
Organization Affiliation
LearnNC
Grade Level