North Carolina

Civil Discourse, Civil Communities

North Carolina Civic Education Consortium hosted an institute for educators and a public program that focused on the tensions between civility, race, and place through law and the humanities.

Public Program

February 16, 2013

Performance of Clybourne Park with followed by community discussion.

Can civil conversations about the past, present and future of our communities further civility in our daily lives?

The North Carolina Civic Education Consortium collaborated with the PlayMakers Repertory Company to consider how a conversation focused around the arts could help to illuminate the problems we all face as citizens.

Community members viewed a free showing of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of Clybourne Park. Themes from the play were used as a starting point to have an honest discussion on “What Makes a Conversation Civil?” and The Place(s) of Race in America.”


Community Discussion        

Community Discussion Speakers: 

Mike Wiley, Historical Playwright, Actor, and former Visiting Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Chris Lundberg, Professor of Rhetoric and Cultural Studies, Director of Cultural Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Educator Institute

February 15-16, 2013

School of Government, Knapps-Sanders Building

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Educators from across North Carolina came together to learn how law and the humanities could be integrated within the classroom to help students better understand the tensions between civility, free-expression, race and community in our democracy.

Workshops focused on:

  • Civility through Dialogue: The Paideia seminar method for examining a text and themes of race and gentrification using A Raisin in the Sun.
  • Classroom Connections with the NC Civic Education Consortium
  • Performance of PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Clybourne Park
  • Post-Performance Community Discussion on “What Makes a Conversation Civil?” and “The Place(s) of Race in America” with Christian Lundberg and Mike Wiley.

Additional resources for teaching about the history of racial disenfranchisement in the United States

  • Engaged Citizens Who Fought Jim Crow Laws
    • 2-day lesson for 8th grade focusing on what it means to be an engaged citizen by studying the impact of civil rights leaders who fought against Jim Crow laws. Lesson concludes with students creating a “living” museum project

Workshop Presenters:

Tom Metzloff, Professor of Law at Duke University & Director of Voices of American Law

 Dr. Terry Roberts, Director of the National Paideia Center at the School of Education at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

2014 Public Programs

Talking Race in the Shadow of Controversy: Part 1

A Performance and Discussion of “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till”

January 25, 2014

Community members gathered at the Chapel Hill Public Library to view Mike Wiley’s performance of Dar He: The Story of Emmet Till, followed by a discussion about race and civility in America.

Using the performance as a foundational text, participants explored the dark, discriminatory past of the Jim Crow era and its impact on people today. Within this context, the community examined current controversies that connect race and injustice, as well as community responses to such events, and explored whether diversity and civility are inherently at odds with one another, as well as what steps a diverse society can take to promote cross-racial and cross-cultural civility.

Key questions addressed:

In what way does Jim Crow history still impact our communities today and   how we communicate and are able to express ourselves?

• Do minorities truly have access to free expression without consequences?

• Are diversity and civility at odds with one another and what role does race plays within the concept of civility?

Talking Race in the Shadows of Controversy: Part 2

One Community, One Book: Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America

February 22, 2014

Community members discussed the book, Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America. It is the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, who galvanized the civil rights movement with her response to the murder of her son.

The discussion was led by Dr. Sharon Holland of UNC Chapel Hill.

Dr. Sharon Holland: Professor of American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and author of Raising the Dead: Readings of Death And (Black) Subjectivity. Dr. Holland holds a Ph.D. in English and African American Studies from the University of Michigan and an A.B. English and African American Studies from Princeton University.