The future of history: Documenting the American South in the classroom

Natalia "Natasha" Smith

Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. As Head of the DocSouth digital publishing program, Natalia “Natasha” Smith manages the sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs currently housed at DocSouth.

Along with a wealth of primary resources, DocSouth also supplies teachers, students, and researchers at every educational level with a wide array of titles they can use for reference, studying, teaching, and research.

Resources for teachers

DocSouth resources help students develop inquiry, comprehension, and synthesis skills. Advanced Placement teachers may find these resources particularly useful as they help their students work through document-based questions (DBQs). Sample topics include United States History, North Carolina History, and African American History. As a LEARN NC partner, DocSouth is committed to connecting teachers with materials that enhance student learning.

Sample lesson plans:

Children at Work: Exposing child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas

Desegregating public schools: Integrated vs. neighborhood schools

Spirituals and the power of music in slave narratives

Slavery across North Carolina

LEARN NC understands the vital role history plays in shaping the future. To help shape a better future for students, teachers, and researchers, LEARN NC is working to bring more DocSouth materials to its collection of resources. Stay tuned for more updates at the LEARN NC homepage.

Researcher bio

Natalia “Natasha” Smith is Head of the Documenting the American South and the Digital Publishing Group at the Carolina Digital Library and Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at UNC, she has successfully sought, authored, led, and managed eighteen externally funded projects that helped disseminate Carolina research and new knowledge and provide for public benefit. Several of those grants are given by federal agencies, most notably the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. Smith has closely collaborated with cultural heritage institutions in North Carolina, the United States, and other countries.

Visit DocSouth online for more information on using southern resources in the classroom.