NC Democracy: Eleven Elections


April 23, 2022  2025

Winner of 2023 Award of Excellence, American Association of State & Local History, and 2023 Gold Award for Gallery Installations and Gold and Silver Awards for Media Production from Southeast Museums Conference

All political power is vested in and derived from the people only…
 – North Carolina Declaration of Rights, 1776

What has democracy meant to different people at different moments in NC history? What was at stake in elections in 1835, 1898, 1920 or 1990? How do decisions then continue to matter now?

Explore choices and change across 11 elections between 1776 and 2010. NC Democracy: Eleven Elections illustrates the twists and turns of who could participate, how voters cast their ballots, and what influenced decisions that continue to shape what democracy means today.

You’ll discover the documents that transformed how our state’s democracy has worked. You’ll confront changing values about what or who was important. You’ll follow the actions that have opened up and shut down opportunities for equal participation.

Together let’s check our democracy settings and recognize the power of our vote.

NC Democracy: Eleven Elections is part of the Greensboro History Museum’s Project Democracy 20/20 initiative exploring American democracy through exhibitions, public programs and innovative community connections. Project Democracy is supported in part by North Carolina Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Find out more at https://greensborohistory.org/democracy  

Virtual Exhibition

Preview NC Democracy: Eleven Elections with an online walk-through.

Expert Takes

Take a look at some of the Expert Take video interviews with scholars about the 11 elections.


Christopher A. Cooper, PhD, Madison Distinguished Professor of Political Science & Public Affairs, Western Carolina University
Mark Elliott, PhD, Associate Professor of History, UNC Greensboro
Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, PhD, Peter V. and C. Van Woodward Professor of History Emerita at Yale University
Irving L. Joyner, JD, Professor of Law, NC Central University
Troy Kickler, PhD, Senior Fellow and Managing Director, NC History Project
William A. Link, PhD, Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History, University of Florida
Warren Milteer Jr., PhD, Assistant Professor of History, UNC Greensboro
Virginia Summey, PhD, Researcher and author, A Life of Elreta Melton Alexander
LeRae Sikes Umfleet, MA, Researcher for NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and author, A Day of Blood
Harry L. Watson, PhD, Atlanta Distinguished Professor of Southern Culture, UNC Chapel Hill

Public Programs

2024 Wicker Endowment Lecture: Malinda Maynor Lowery
April 11, 2024
Historian, author, and filmmaker Malinda Maynor Lowery discusses “The Lumbees’ Long Fight to Reimagine Democracy.” Lowery is Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University. Her books include The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle. Free program in partnership with UNCG Department of History and Guilford Native American Association.


Reconstruction History Reconsidered
October 12, 2023
Celebrated historian Fergus M. Bordewich discusses his new book KLAN WAR: Ulysses S. Grant and the Battle to Save Reconstruction at the Greensboro History Museum for the annual Dortch series. KLAN WAR looks at the rise of the white supremacist terrorist organization immediately following the Civil War and the battles undertaken at federal and state levels to combat horrific acts against newly emancipated Black Americans and their white allies, including in North Carolina. Panel discussion with UNC Greensboro professors Mark Elliott and Deborah H. Barnes follows.

Lifted Voices: Civic Season
June 24, 2023
Celebrate the season of civic engagement between Juneteenth and July Fourth at the museum as living history interpreters share stories from the NC Democracy: Eleven Elections exhibition. Drop by and wander the museum galleries. You’ll discover
Sarah Dudley Pettey, 19th-century Black journalist and reformer; William Hooper, NC signer of the Declaration of Independence; Abraham Galloway, Union spy, Freedmen’s Convention representative, and NC Senator; Lonnie Revels, Guilford Native American Association founder and Greensboro councilperson; and more! Free, family-friendly program. Join us for history in first person.

GHM After Hours: Gerrymander Madness
April 6, 2023
It’s a night of fun and games plus serious Expert Takes around gerrymandering in NC. Discover what’s behind electoral redistricting with experts from across the state. (Experts include Tyler Daye, Policy and Civic Engagement Manager for Common Cause NC; J. Michael Bitzer, Chair of Political Science at Catawba College and author of the book Redistricting and Gerrymandering in North Carolina: Battle Lines in the Tar Heel State; and Jim Clotfelter, UNCG Vice Chancellor Emeritus & Professor of Political Science Emeritus. Moderated by Robby Hassell, Regional Judicial Outreach Liaison · ABA Judicial Division.) Try your hand at our Gerrymander Madness VR experience and enjoy a live onstage game show. Plus, live jazz duo from UNCG Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program, adult beverages for sale from Little Brother Brewing, and much much more!

Deeper into Democracy: Voting & Elections in NC Today
October 2, 2022
What’s on voters’ minds this fall ahead of midterm elections? How are court decisions shaping the state’s political landscape? How are the latest electoral maps influencing contests? Political scientist Christopher A. Cooper talks with veteran political reporter Lynn Bonner about what may be shaping North Carolinian’s choices this November in a free public program.

Collage of images of Bennett protestersBelles of History: Bennett College & the 1960 Sit-Ins
September 25, 2022
Enjoy a live History Notes podcast as host Rodney Dawson, Curator of Education, talks with Bennett Belles who took part in the 1960 Sit-Ins and other Greensboro civil rights protests. Plus, catch a preview of Triad Stage’s world premiere of Rebellious by NC playwright Mike Wiley. Program takes place in partnership with Triad Stage at its Upstairs Cabaret theater. Refreshments served.

History Lunch Break Dine-In: Women’s Equality Day
August 26, 2022
Celebrate Women’s Equality Day with an in-person History Lunch Break at the Greensboro History Museum. Join us for a conversation about North Carolina suffrage stories from the exhibition NC Democracy: Eleven Elections and beyond with Meredith College History Department’s Angela Robbins and Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum & State Historic Site’s Liz Torres Melendez .

GHM After Hours: Democracy Games Night
July 28, 2022
Play, participate, party! Drop by for fun and games including terribly tricky team Democracy Trivia, an elaborate museum-wide History Scavenger Hunt, a chance to undermine democracy with our Gerrymander Madness VR game and much much more. Plus there will be crafts, a DJ, ZeeYum Kitchen food truck, and delicious beverages for sale from Little Brother Brewing! Bring your friends and enjoy this latest installment of GHM After Hours.

Juneteenth Bike Tour: Pedals and Politics
June 18, 2022
Discover some of East Greensboro’s political pioneers on a five-mile family friendly guided bicycle tour of places and people that helped reshape what democracy looked like in Greensboro. We’ll learn about Zoe P. Barbee, Dr. William Hampton, Justice Henry Frye and more. Check-in starts 12 pm. Tour departs 12:30 and returns to museum by 2 pm. Free event. Registration required through Bicycling in Greensboro.

History Lunch Break: NC Pride PAC and LGBTQ+ Political Organizing
June 10, 2022
The 1990 U.S. Senate race, featured in the museum’s NC Democracy: Eleven Elections exhibition, was watched nationwide. In North Carolina it sparked new kinds of LGBTQ+ organizing with the founding of the NC Pride Political Action Committee. We’ll talk with Mandy Carter, longtime voting rights advocate and one of the founders of NC Pride PAC about the early days of the organization and its continuing influence on LGBTQ+ political participation.