Guest post by Denelle Eads
Special Collections at UNC Charlotte provides a picture to the past and a way to incorporate rare and unique materials into the classroom. This summer, Special Collections connected with HIST 4600: Racial Violence in America, a course that examines the nature and the history of racial violence in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Special Collections has an abundance of rich collections that support this course topic which includes primary source material related to race relations from slavery to civil rights issues from the past to present.
Students in the HIST 4600 course visited the Special Collections Reading Room and were introduced to some of the materials relevant to the course topic. An online research guide was created for the course to provide students with more information about the manuscripts collections. In working with these materials, students were assigned to establish how the collections might be used in writing history. After selecting a manuscripts collection of interest to them, each student had the opportunity to examine one of a kind, first- hand documents such as diaries, photographs, letters and other items pertaining to their class topic. They discovered the value of working with primary source material and the pleasure of engaging with original documents, a practice that can enhance the learning experience.
Learn more about Special Collections by browsing the website or visiting the Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library.
Denelle Eads is Special Collections Research and Outreach Librarian at UNC Charlotte Atkins Library. Contact Denelle if you are interested in developing an archives assignment for your class.