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College Professor Brings History to Elementary School Children

 |  Ingrid Hoffius

History faculty regularly participate in Humanities Extension programs, often visiting public schools throughout North Carolina to talk on historical subjects. On 25 April, 2017, Professor Craig Friend visited Southwest Elementary School in Clemmons, NC. He talked to two fifth-grade classes, answering their questions about college life and talking about his current research on Lunsford Lane, a man born into slavery in Raleigh in 1803.

Students wrote thank you letters to Dr. Friend and it was clear they gained quite a bit of insight into both the slave Lunsford Lane and what to expect from college. Regarding Lunsford Lane, one student wrote, “Thank you for telling us about all the important contributions that Lunsford Lane did in his life. One of them was to help stop slavery. We wouldn’t have ever known that he existed until you came to talk to us about him.”

Another student wrote, “We thought it was very helpful to know not only your grades and SAT/ACT but also your social life (clubs and community work) affected your college application.”

Friend is a CHASS Distinguished Graduate Professor of History and Director of Public History at NC State University. His academic interests are two-fold: In Public History, they are in public memory and commemoration, family and community history, and the history of public history. In History, Professor Friend researches in the early American republic and Old South, issues of identity and commemoration, gender and masculinity, and death culture. His research has been funded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, the Winterthur Museum and Library, the Filson Historical Society, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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