UNC’s Union Veterans

UNC’s Confederate history is very well documented: in the Confederate monument on campus, in the “Roll of Confederate Dead” in Memorial Hall, and in the names of several buildings. While the heavy focus on Confederate veterans is not surprising for a state university in the South, we often get asked about a largely unexplored aspect of Carolina history: alums who served in the Union army.

Were there any Union veterans from UNC? We’ve heard the question a lot, and never had a great answer. We do now: Yes, but not many.

After some research and consultation with colleagues around campus, we’ve identified a handful of UNC students who went on to serve in the Union army or in the federal government during the Civil War.

Francis Preston Blair, a native of Kentucky, attended UNC for the 1839-1840 school year.  According to available student records, he was expelled from UNC. Blair also attended Yale before finally earning his degree from Princeton. He was living in Missouri when he joined the army, eventually rising to the rank of Major General. 

Junius B. Wheeler was a native of Murfreesboro and a veteran of the war with Mexico. He was student from at UNC from 1849-1851, then transferred to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he earned a degree in 1855. When the war began, there were split loyalties in his family: one of his half brothers was an officer in the Confederate Army. Wheeler served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers throughout the war.

Edward Mallet, UNC class of 1818, was Paymaster General for the United States from 1862 to 1865.

Edward Stanly attended UNC during the 1829-1830 school year. He was elected to the North Carolina state legislature and represented the state in Congress before moving to California. He was appointed by President Lincoln as military governor of Eastern North Carolina in 1862, but resigned the following year.

We think there are almost certainly more Union veterans who attended UNC, but these are the only ones we know about right now. If you know of any, or have suggestions, let us know. If we confirm any others, we will add them to this list.

Posted in University Archives, University History | Comments Off on UNC’s Union Veterans

Timeline of 1980s Anti-Apartheid Activism at UNC

Daily Tar Heel, April 7, 1986 (via Newspapers.com)

In the mid 1980s, UNC students actively campaigned to convince the University to divest from investment in South Africa in protest of the legalized segregation in place under that country’s apartheid system.

This timeline presents an overview of major dates and activities on campus.

1978-1979: Students at Harvard and several other American universities begin advocating for university endowments to stop investing in South African companies. The students argue that providing financial support for South African business provides indirect support to the government and its formal policy of racial discrimination (apartheid). UNC administrators discuss the issues but decide not to make any changes to the university’s investment policy at the time. Source: Office of the Chancellor, Nelson Ferebee Taylor Records #40023, box 11, “Sullivan Principles 1978-1979.” 

October 21, 1982: UNC students hold a rally calling for UNC to end its business relations with IBM due to IBM’s business presence in South Africa. Sources: Anti-Apartheid Support Group Records #40143, folder “UNC Related Materials: Collateral, 1981-1981”; Daily Tar Heel, 22 October 1982.

November 19, 1982: UNC Public Interest Research Group lobbies the Board of Trustees to divest from South Africa. Source: Anti-Apartheid Support Group Records #40143, folder “UNC Related Materials: Collateral, 1981-1981.”

February 8, 1983: UNC students vote 3,313 to 1,891 in support of a resolution urging the Board of Trustees to divest from South Africa Source: Anti-Apartheid Support Group Records #40143, folder “UNC Related Materials: Collateral, 1981-1981.”

April 23, 1983: UNC Endowment Board rejects divestment but says they will not invest in South African companies unless they agree to the “Sullivan Principles,” described as a voluntary code of racial equality for companies doing business in South Africa. Source: Daily Tar Heel, April 7, 1986.

October 1985: UNC Anti-Apartheid Support Group formed. Source: Anti-Apartheid Support Group Records #40143,

October 11, 1985. Students hold an anti-apartheid rally in the Pit. Source: Daily Tar Heel, October 14, 1985.

February 4, 1986. Students vote 2,560-1,130 in support of a referendum in favor of UNC divesting from South Africa. Source: Daily Tar Heel, February 5, 1986.

Shanties build in protest of UNC’s investment in South Africa, Spring 1986. (Yackety Yack, 1986)

March 18, 1986. The UNC Anti-Apartheid Support Group builds several shanties in front of South Building in order to draw attention to their cause and to express sympathy for South Africans forced to live in shantytowns. Campus police dismantle the structures, which are rebuilt later in the day after the group receives permission from Chancellor Fordham. Source: Daily Tar Heel, March 19, 1986.

March 31, 1986. Two student groups, the College Republicans and Students for America, stage a counter protest in front of the shanties by construction a mock “Berlin-type wall.” The counter-protesters spoke out against oppressive governments in South Africa and the Soviet Union. The Daily Tar Heel quoted the College Republicans Chairman: “(The wall) is to show that there are other atrocities around the world that are even far greater than those in South Africa. It is hypocritical to just call for divestment (in South Africa). If you say you’re against ‘immoral governments’ then you should do it across the board.” The counter-protesters also objected to the extended presence of the shanties. Source: Daily Tar Heel, 1 April 1986.

April 24, 1986. University Endowment Board meets in a “very argumentative” secession and votes against total divestment, electing partial measures and agreeing to place pressure on South African companies to encourage them to abandon Apartheid. Chancellor Fordham supports divestment and says “we did not get the vote I wanted.” Student protesters hold a sit-in followed by a march down Franklin Street to protest the decision. Source: Daily Tar Heel, April 4, 1986.

UNC students march on campus in protest of the school’s investment in South Africa, November 20, 1986. (Yackety Yack 1987)

11 February 1987: A new student group, Action Against Apartheid, is formed. Source: Daily Tar Heel, February 11, 1987.

May 1987: A group of students from Action Against Apartheid hold an eight-day hunger strike to protest UNC investment in South Africa. Source: Daily Tar Heel, 21 May 1987.

October 1, 1987: UNC Endowment Board agrees to divest all funds from South African companies. The change of mind is due partly to the ongoing protests, but also due to diminishing returns in those funds. Source: Daily Tar Heel, 2 October 1987.

October 12, 1987. Student protesters interrupt University Day celebrations in Memorial Hall, marching down the aisle carrying signs and banners opposing apartheid in South Africa. Source: Daily Tar Heel, October 13, 1987.

 

 

 

Posted in University Archives, University History | Comments Off on Timeline of 1980s Anti-Apartheid Activism at UNC

Artifacts of the Month: Jubilee program and button

The arrival of commencement weekend gives us a welcome opportunity to look back at spring traditions at UNC. The NCC Gallery honors those traditions with a display of Carolina traditions, including this Jubilee program and pinback button — our May Artifacts of the Month.

Jubilee program

Jubilee button

Jubilee was an annual concert that celebrated the end of the spring semester at Carolina from 1963 to 1971. What began as a small concert featuring a few acoustic performers in front of Graham Memorial in 1963 grew to become a can’t-miss festival-style rock show at Navy Field in 1971.

Over the years, Jubilee brought performers in a variety of genres to UNC, including Johnny Cash and June Carter, Neil Diamond, the Temptations, Joe Cocker, the Association, B.B. King, the Chambers Brothers, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears — as well as lesser-known (or less remembered) acts.

The 1969 UNC Yearbook, the Yackety Yack, called it “The biggest weekend of the year — of the past three years.”

The program from that year describes the event in these groovy terms:

Jubilee program close-up

Jubilee ’69 is not a series of concerts, but an environment for activity. The key ingredient is the creative energies of those who come to it. The concept behind this year’s planning is to encourage students to meet and mingle, to create their own experience out of an environment of color, form, and ideas.

Two years later, in 1971, Jubilee imploded under its own excess.

In advance of the ’71 event, the Daily Tar Heel reported that Jubilee would have a new, small stage in addition to the main stage. The small stage would provide “entertainment ranging from cartoons to concerts featuring standouts at the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention,” as well as the UNC Jazz Lab Band and Durham soul act Shamrock.

Headliners would include the Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry, Spirit, Cowboy, the J. Geils Band, Tom Rush, and Muddy Waters.

According to the article:

In addition to the major concerts and the entertainment on the small stage, Jubilee ’71 will include an Astro-bounce, a slip and slide, balloons, soap bubbles, three large foam rubber piles and all kinds of food.

Carolina Union President Richie Leonard was quoted by the DTH saying he hoped the activities “will keep as many people as possible involved at all times.”

Leonard got his wish: The crowds at Jubilee ’71 peaked at 23,000 on Saturday night.

The event, which had been getting larger and more unruly for a few years, had reached maximum mayhem. Gatecrashers tore down fences, the huge crowds damaged the grounds at Navy Field, and noise complaints multiplied.

A week afterward, the Student Union Activities Group called an end to Jubilee, recommending that it be replaced by smaller events spread throughout the year.


The University Archives holds a film from 1971 Jubilee in the Records of the Student Union. A short clip from the beginning of the film is available here:


For the next two years, students argued for Jubilee’s revival, with student government candidates making its reinstatement part of their election platforms.

The name Jubilee was eventually revived for a new annual spring concert — but not until 2015, when the Carolina Union Activities Board brought hip-hop act Rae Sremmurd to Hooker Fields. But the smaller, more contained 21st-century Jubilee resembles its wild namesake in title only… for now.

If you’re curious about other spring traditions at Carolina, stop by the Gallery and see our exhibit!

Posted in Artifact of the Month, UNC History | Comments Off on Artifacts of the Month: Jubilee program and button

Wilson Library Open House, May 13

Commencement visitors can step back in time with a slide show and music celebrating the class of 1967, reunion class yearbooks, and exhibitions. Continue reading
Posted in Events, Exhibits, Homepage Feature, Homepage Special Collections, North Carolina Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Special Collections, UNC History | Comments Off on Wilson Library Open House, May 13

THE Voice of the Tar Heels

Tar Heel Sports Network play-by-play announcer Woody Durham (right) with son Wes Durham (play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech) after receiving Marvin "Skeeter" Francis Award at 2002 ACC basketball tournament, Charlotte, NC.

Tar Heel Sports Network play-by-play announcer Woody Durham (right) with son Wes Durham (play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech) after receiving Marvin “Skeeter” Francis Award at 2002 ACC basketball tournament, Charlotte, NC.

Today, April 22, 2017, Carolina’s Woody Durham will receive the Lindsey Nelson Broadcasting Award at the University of Tennessee Orange and White spring football game in Knoxville. This will be just the latest in a long line of awards that fill his trophy case. Woody’s son Wes will be on hand to accept the award for his dad.  On this special day, Morton volunteer contributor, Jack Hilliard, reminisces about his long-time friend and UNC classmate.

Many of the recent reports in the media of Woody Durham’s health issues have described him as “The Voice of the Tar Heels for 40 Years.” While that is true, there is far more to it than that. Woody Durham was, is, and forever will be The Voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, period. Others will broadcast the play-by-play of the Tar Heel games and will do it well, but none will ever come close to what Woody Durham was able to accomplish . . . the bar is just too high.

I came to work for WFMY-TV in Greensboro on February 6, 1963 and worked until July 24th, when I left for a short tour of active duty with the US Army. When I returned in January, 1964, WFMY’s long-time sports director Charlie Harville had left for the new station in High Point and taking his place was Woody Durham, a classmate from UNC. While at Carolina, I had often watched Woody and news anchors Ray Williams and Dave Wegerek from the WUNC-TV control room in Swain Hall as director Wayne Upchurch directed the evening news. I decided then that I wanted to direct a show like that someday.  But I never imagined that my path would cross with Woody’s and Dave’s down the road.

Woody Durham and Ray Williams on news set, April 19, 1961. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection Photographer: Bill Prouty.)

Woody Durham and Ray Williams on news set, April 19, 1961. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection Photographer: Bill Prouty.)

When I returned to WFMY in ’64, I got a promotion from the floor crew to a control room job—audio and technical director, then assistant director.  And in early November of 1966, I got to direct my first newscast and for me it was magical.  As had been the case back at WUNC-TV, Dave Wegerek anchored the news and Woody Durham anchored the sports.  I had the honor and privilege of working with Dave for four years, and with Woody for almost fourteen, until August of 1977.  During that time with Woody, I saw a master at work.  From a ten-second promotional announcement to a one-hour documentary it was always the same: carefully research, then script it and deliver it with dignity, class, and style. That’s the way Woody has lived his life, with perhaps a bit less emphasis on the scripting part.  And that’s the way he’s approaching his current health struggles.

As most of the Tar Heel Nation will recall, Woody delivered a letter to his many friends and fans on June 1, 2016.  In it he explained his current health condition with primary progressive aphasia, a neurocognitive disorder that affects language expression:

I can still enjoy the company of friends and traveling with my wife, Jean, but I am not able to address groups as I did in the past,” Durham said. “While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for Jean and me, and yes, quite an ironic one at that, it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it.

Goodness knows, Tar Heel fans have heard him often over the years telling the Tar Heel story for the Athletic Department, the General Alumni Association, the Tar Heel Sports Network, and you name it, Woody has been there. And as you would likely guess, Woody is using his health issue to help people become aware of aphasia and how it affects individuals and families.

As in the past, I will continue to attend Carolina functions and sporting events as my schedule permits, and be part of civic and other charitable endeavors throughout the state. As part of these events, we want to make people more aware of primary progressive aphasia, and the impact that these neurocognitive disorders can have on individuals, families and friends.

Along with raising awareness, we hope to encourage financial support for continued research and treatment in our state, as well as nationally.

Over the years, Woody has urged us to “go where you go, and do what you do” when a close game was on the line.  As Woody’s friend for more than 50 years, I would urge all to take Woody’s game advice because he is involved in yet another difficult struggle. And in the end, when he wins this battle, (and I choose to believe he will), he can say, as he often has said following a big Tar Heel victory: “Act like you’ve been there before.”

Woody Durham interviews King Rice following win over Duke in the 1991 ACC Tournament. Also in the frame is #32 Pete Chilcutt, and Rick Fox (right). Jim Heavner, Tar Heel Sports Network and CEO of The Village Companies of Chapel Hill can be partially seen in extreme left of the frame.

Woody Durham interviews King Rice following win over Duke in the 1991 ACC Tournament. Also in the frame is #32 Pete Chilcutt, and Rick Fox (right). Jim Heavner, Tar Heel Sports Network and CEO of The Village Companies of Chapel Hill can be partially seen in extreme left of the frame.

I think it’s appropriate that we update Woody’s progress on the web site which is everything Hugh Morton. Woody was a Hugh Morton photo subject often and during the 2005-2006 UNC basketball season, Woody gave us periodic reports on Hugh’s condition.

On October 5, 2013, there was a very special event at the Turchin Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. I was honored to be a panelist along with Betty McCain, Robert Anthony, and Woody Durham.  Our topic: “Hugh Morton and His Photography.”  It was a magical afternoon . . . one to forever remember.

So on this special day I say: “Best wishes, dear friend, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Jean, and family.”

Posted in Celebrities, Sports, UNC | Comments Off on THE Voice of the Tar Heels

Remembering Gwendolyn Harrison, the First African American Woman to Attend UNC

When Gwendolyn Harrison decided to come to UNC to pursue a Ph.D. in Spanish, she went through the usual process: she applied and was accepted, and she was assigned a room in one of the women’s dormitories. She arrived on campus in June 1951, checked into her dorm, and went to begin the registration process. When she returned to her dorm, a university employee told her that there had been a mistake: Harrison’s registration was cancelled and should would not be allowed to attend UNC that term. The reason? They had not realized that Harrison was an African American.

Gwendolyn Harrison, 1951. From the Johnson C. Smith University yearbook. Harrison was on the faculty at Johnson C. Smith when she applied to UNC.

UNC denied entry to African American students until forced by a federal court to admit African American graduate students in 1951. The lawsuit was initiated by four African American law students, who would enroll in the first summer session of 1951.

Believing that the ruling applied to all of the graduate programs at UNC, Harrison, who was from Kinston, assumed that she would finally be able to attend her home state university. In a letter to a local newspaper, Harrison wrote, “I was proud because I thought that North Carolina at least was about to live up to the democratic ideals which are a part of the heritage of our great land.”

Harrison’s story encapsulates the upheaval on campus as administrators and trustees struggled to accept that the University’s practice of excluding African American students — which had been in place for more than 150 years — was coming to an end. Their responses wavered between confusion, caution, and resistance.

While campus administrators were anticipating the first African American law students in 1951, Harrison’s arrival was a surprise. Her application did not ask for her race, but her dormitory reservation card did.

Gwendolyn Harrison’s Application for Room, May 21, 1951. Robert B. House Papers (40019), University Archives.

After Harrison’s enrollment was cancelled, she immediately appealed to University administrators. Both W.W. Pierson, Dean of the College of the Graduate School, and Chancellor Robert House told Harrison that the question of her enrollment was out of their hands and that it had to be resolved by the Board of Trustees at their June meeting. Harrison wrote the next day to Governor Bob Scott, who was the chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees.

News and Observer, June 13, 1951.

Harrison was not going to wait. Working with attorney C.O. Pearson of the North Carolina NAACP, she announced her intent to sue the University. The suit was filed in early July and Chancellor Robert House received a subpoena ordering him to appear in the United States District Court in Greensboro on July 12, 1951. Likely wary of getting involved in more legal struggles and probably aware of the University’s weak position in denying Harrison when other African American students were already enrolled in graduate programs, the University agreed to settle. On July 16, 1951, a few days after negotiating a delay in the trial, House wrote to Dean Pierson of the graduate school, telling him to inform Gwendolyn Harrison that she was admitted to UNC.

Harrison was able to enroll in the second summer session of 1951. In doing so, she became the first African American woman to attend UNC. She returned to Chapel Hill for summer school in 1952, but did not pursue any further education at Carolina. She returned briefly to teaching at Johnson C. Smith and then spent most of her adult life in Bessemer City, N.C.

Gwendolyn Harrison Smith passed away last month. In an obituary in the Gaston Gazette, family members noted that she rarely talked about her role in the long struggle to integrate UNC. Perhaps due to her brief time at Carolina, as well as the fact that she followed so closely behind the first African American students, who received a great deal of media attention, her story has been rarely told in accounts of UNC history. Neal Cheek, in his 1973 dissertation about the integration of UNC, includes a thorough account of Harrison’s efforts to attend UNC, and she has been occasionally noted as a trailblazer, though not nearly as often as other Carolina “firsts.”

 

 

 

Posted in University Archives, University History | Comments Off on Remembering Gwendolyn Harrison, the First African American Woman to Attend UNC

He came to Chapel Hill to argue with someone

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union's sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline "Have a Cigar!" and caption, "Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations." A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union’s sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline “Have a Cigar!” and caption, “Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations.” A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Yesteryear is filled with those whose names today mean nothing to most, but in their day were lightning rods.  Leon Henderson is one of those people.

Henderson became a member of Franklin Roosevelt’s inner circle, perhaps the result of his 1937 memorandum “Boom and Bust” written when he was Director of Research and Planning with the National Recovery Administration.  Roosevelt appointed him to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1939, and in 1941 to head the Office of Price Administration.  John Kenneth Galbraith, a historically important economist, public official, and diplomat, begins Chapter 8, “Washington, 1940,” of his autobiography A Life in Our Times: Memoirs (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981):

Leon Henderson was slightly under average height, of rather more than average width, and he seemed always to be adjusting his pants, pulling a little on his belt as though this would reduce his waistline.  Perhaps because they had to be so large at his stomach, his trousers were always very loose below.  They flopped when he walked or the wind blew.  The rest of Leon’s attire was somewhat more disorderly.  He shaved regularly but without precision.  His face altered between an expression of unconvincing belligerence and one of shocked, unbelieving innocence, and sometimes he affected both at the same time.  Mostly, however, he favored the belligerent expression, and this he sought to reinforce with a sharply jutting cigar that he rolled in his mouth but rarely smoked.  He was highly intelligent, with a strong tentative mind.  After a few minutes’ study of a paper on any subject, however complex, he not only had absorbed it for all needed use but could give convincingly the impression that he had written it himself.

It was during 1940 that Galbraith would become Henderson’s deputy when he served on Roosevelt’s National Defense Advisory Commission.  Among those serving on the commission with Henderson was Harriet Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC Greensboro).

Galbraith devotes many pages of his first-hand accounts surrounding Henderson and his role in determining American economic policies during the critically important years from the mid 1930s into the first year of the United States’ direct involvement in the second World War.  Galbraith attributes Henderson as the person “who first voiced the thought that having a little inflation was like being a little pregnant” during “the almost paranoiac concern of 1940 and 1941 over inflation.”

Word that Leon Henderson would visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill first appeared in The Daily Tar Heel on April 5, 1942.  Ridley Whitaker, chair of the Carolina Political Union, a non-partisan and non-political student group formed in 1936, announced that three important men had been sign to speak during the week of April 23:

Whitaker noted that past invited speakers had been “reluctant to talk,” but that these men would. “We’re having those men down to talk.  They were signed with that purpose.  Henderson has already wired that he’s coming here because he wants someone to argue with him.”  Harriet Elliot would introduce Henderson.

The Daily Tar Heel reporter Paul Komisaruk, who covered the Henderson story during the next two weeks, describe Henderson as “More colorful than Davis” and “clearly one of ‘America’s New Bosses,’ who with his control of prices profoundly influences the cost of living in every home in America.”  Komisaruk was not exaggerating, and he attributes Henderson’s “Boom or Bust” [sic] memorandum to Henderson’s rise to Roosevelt’s “inner-brain trust.”

Within a week, Komisaruk reported that Henderson’s visit would be moved up to April 15, a date which also marked the sixth anniversary of the Carolina Political Union.  Henderson’s “pressing duties in Washington” necessitated the change.  Komisaruk wrote, “Holding down the most difficult and delicate job in Washington, the quick-tempered Henderson will explain to students and visiting dignitaries, the Congressional battles over price-fixing that rocked the halls of Congress, and still, to develop into the biggest domestic issue of the war.”  He also reported that Whitaker had developed the evening’s program to include a banquet and a reception, and that attendees would include Governor J. Melville Broughton and Josephus Daniels, who had been the United States Ambassador to Mexico from April 1933 until November 1941 and who was at that time the editor of his family-controlled newspaper The News and Observer in Raleigh.)

On the day prior to Henderson’s visit, The Daily Tar Heel editorial staff column included a segment titled “A Man Who Knows . . .” in which the editors wrote, “This is the man who can tell you why Lenoir Hall prices are going up and when they will stop.  He doesn’t speak with an accent and he can’t sing the praises of the fighting soldiers, but he can tell you the effect of the war effort on the consumer.”

On the day of Henderson’s trip to Chapel Hill, Kamisaruk noted that Henderson was departing Washington “in the midst of a growing storm over issues pertaining to setting a ceiling on labor’s wages.”  He expected Henderson “to explain the stand he took last week before the War Labor Board, when he warned that a ceiling must be set or the country will be faced with ‘devastating inflation,’ that may cause the US to lose the war.”  Kamisaruk also noted that “political observers” say that “Henderson’s warnings about inflation and frozen wages are not to be taken lightly despite the violent recriminations they have brought from labor leaders throughout the country. They point to the depression of 1937 that Henderson anticipated and warned about, and was ridiculed for until the ‘Henderson depression’ came right along as he said it would.”  Kamisaruk concluded with an unattributed quotation: “his idealism springs out of the soil of harsh facts.  And the harshest of these facts are prices, prices, prices.”

An example of opposition to Henderson can be seen in Ray Tucker’s syndicated column “National Whirligig” for April 15.  In a section he titled “Sleuths” Tucker noted that since February 17, 1941 when the “first move to regulate the main factors underlying our artificial war economy,” Henderson had “issued one hundred and six permanent rulings and fifteen temporary decrees.” Tucker took exception to these, noting that “the rapidity with which prohibitions have had to be extended into the retail field is what reflects graphically the failure of the present philosophy.”  According to Tucker, between March 1941 to March 1942, wholesale costs had risen nineteen percent and living costs twelve percent.  Tucker feared the installation of a “more drastic regime will flood the country with a locustlike army of regulators and sleuths,” concluding “But this condition appears to be a necessary touch of totalitarianism.”

Komisaruk’s coverage of Henderson’s evening on campus noted that he delivered only “perfunctory remarks, and promptly announced that the floor was open to discussion.” Henderson had indeed come to Chapel Hill to argue. “Spectators fired a barrage of questions,” one of which concerned the forty-hour work week. The Associated Press pick up this nugget, as printed in The Burlington Times.  The AP noted that Henderson believed suspension of the 40-hour week would decrease production because, “I don’t believe human beings will respond a 10 per cent cut.”  He also said the nation might be forced to adopt a general sales tax, which he did not favor, unless wages were stabilized.

"Unaccustomed as I am . . . " is the quotation printed on the "Discussion Groups" opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

“Unaccustomed as I am . . . ” is the quotation printed on the “Discussion Groups” opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

Morton's negative without cropping.

Morton’s negative without cropping.

The Daily Tar Heel also reported that a Henderson answer to one questioner “drew roars of laughter” when asked for “a few words about that ‘great American patriot Martin Dies.'” (Martin Dies Jr. was a co-creator and chairman of the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities.)  Henderson replied, “. . . it always happens once an evening—a question the speaker can not answer glibly.  I can only repeat what I have said on other occasions. ‘I will eat on the steps of the Treasury building at high noon any organizations I have belong to that Martin Dies proves is subversive.” He added with a smile, “Of course there are some high school groups I belong to that his flat-feet haven’t gotten around to inspecting yet.”

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson's speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson’s speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

A few days after Henderson’s evening in Chapel Hill, The Daily Tar Heel opinion column noted that “Memorial hall overflowed . . . for the CPU’s first speech of the spring quarter.  There were many who expressed disappointment at Mr. Henderson’s speech and then there were those who felt it to be the first speech of the year during which you had to think to be able to understand what was being said.  Regardless of what opinions are being batted around campus, Leon Henderson’s address goes down as one of the meatiest of the year.”

Henderson’s story looms larger than A View to Hugh can tackle.  In short, the midterm elections of 1942 saw Democrats lose nine seats in the United States Senate and forty-three in the House of Representatives.  Democrats still maintained a significant majority, but it was the smallest since Roosevelt’s first election a decade earlier. In V was for Victory: Politics and American Culture During World War II, author John Morton Blum cites a survey taken of “Democratic Senatorial and Congressional candidates, whether they were victorious or not” by Edwin W. Pawley, then Secretary of the Democratic National Committee.  Blum describes the polling as “probably the shrewdest and most self-interested postelection [sic] analysis that Roosevelt received.”  Pawley reviewed the replies and compiled a list of five factors that contributed to the Democratic Party losses.  Number three on the list was “Resentment of O.P.A. Particularly of Mr. Henderson.  This was the most universal and serious complaint of all . . . It appears from the letters that the complaint is directed rather at Mr. Henderson and his attitude and methods than at the abstract question of . . . rationing and price control . . . .”  Pawley suggested the complaints against Henderson were “correctable” and Blum states that “Roosevelt got the message.”

In December 1942 Henderson called Galbraith and others to his office where they learned of Henderson’s intention to resign.  He stated that his health, and particularly his eyesight, would not permit him to continue.  Henderson didn’t expect anyone to believe that, so he kept repeating it “with increasing emphasis and indignation. In fact he was persuaded that there would be ever more severe attacks on our front and that he could blunt them by removing himself from the scene.”

Looking back, Galbraith believed Henderson was “never completely happy again” and that “the debt owed to Henderson for preparing the civilian economy for World War II has never been even partially recognized.  Had it not been for his bold, intelligent actions and those he authorized, civilians would have suffered.  And so assuredly would those who did the fighting.”

Posted in Biography, Politics, UNC | Comments Off on He came to Chapel Hill to argue with someone

A Carolina Narrative of Service to Nation: Yesterday and Today

Captain Michael John, U.S. Navy (ret.) will deliver the 2017 Gladys Hall Coates University History Lecture on April 12 in the Wilson Special Collections Library. Continue reading
Posted in Events, Homepage Feature, Homepage Special Collections, North Carolina Collection, North Carolina History, Special Collections, UNC History | Comments Off on A Carolina Narrative of Service to Nation: Yesterday and Today

Doing Our Bit: UNC and the Great War

This exhibition about Carolina's involvement in World War I will be on view in Wilson Library through June 11, 2017. Continue reading
Posted in Collections and Resources, Exhibits, Homepage Exhibits, Homepage Special Collections, North Carolina Collection, North Carolina History, UNC History | Comments Off on Doing Our Bit: UNC and the Great War

The Razorbacks are back

UNC head basketball coach Dean Smith on sidelines during national semifinal match-up against Arkansas in the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington on April 1, 1995. (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

UNC head basketball coach Dean Smith on sidelines during national semifinal match-up against Arkansas in the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington on April 1, 1995. (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

On March 18th, 2012 Bill Richards, a colleague who worked in the library’s Digital Production Center, passed away unexpectedly while watching the Tar Heel’s basketball team defeat Creighton University in the “Sweet Sixteen” round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  In 1982, Bill was the Chief Photographer for the Chapel Hill Newspaper.  In 1988, he began working as a photographer and graphic designer in the UNC Office of Sports information.  In 1998 he started working in Library Photographic Services, but continued shooting for Sports Information into the 2000s.  I am dedicating this blog post, as I have each year since his departure, to Bill who, like Hugh Morton, was an avid UNC basketball fan.

Here we are again . . . it’s March Madness time and UNC is in the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament for the forty-seventh time.  Yesterday’s 103 to 64 first-round win against Texas Southern, coupled with Arkansas’ 77-to-71 defeat of Seton Hall, set up the sixth tournament meeting between the Tar Heels and Razorbacks.  Hugh Morton photographed three of those contests in 1990, 1993, and 1995. In the latter two face-offs, the victors continued on to win the national championship.

North Carolina's Donald Williams (#21) and Arkansas' Corliss Williamson (#34) battle under the basket during the East Regional Semifinal at 1993 NCAA tournament in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

North Carolina’s Donald Williams (#21) and Arkansas’ Corliss Williamson (#34) battle under the basket during the East Regional Semifinal at 1993 NCAA tournament in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The first of these two encounters was the 1993 tournament’s East Regional Semifinals played at East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Arkansas was fueled by eleven three-pointers, but but UNC’s sophomore guard Donald Williams scored the last nine Tar Heel points—including three foul shots at the end—to clinch the game 80 to 74.  At one point in first half Arkansas led by eleven, but the game was often close.  The score at halftime was 45 to 45, and with 6:30 left to play it was 69 to 69.  It was then that North Carolina’s Brian Reese bucket gave the Tar Heels a  lead that would not give back.

A monstrous dunk by 245-pound Razorback freshman Corliss Williamson bought  Arkansas to within two points, 73 to 71, and their fans leapt to their feet.  With just over a minute to play in the game, Carolina held onto a 75-to-74 lead.  UNC’s legendary coach Dean Smith called a time out at the 0:51.7 mark and drew up play.  Rather than stall in a patented four-corners set, he designed a quick-scoring backdoor pass from George Lynch to Williams for a lay-up that extended the score to 77 to 74 with 0:42 seconds left.  An Arkansas turnover forced the Razorbacks to foul Williams.  He iced the free throws and capped the Tar Heel victory.  George Lynch led UNC in scoring with twenty-three points and ten rebounds.  Eric Montrose added fifteen points.  The win sent the Tar Heels to the East Regional Finals against Cincinnati.

UNC's Jerry Stackhouse guarded by Arkansas' Scotty Thurman during their 1995 national semifinal game played on April 1, 1995 in Seattle's Kingdome. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

UNC’s Jerry Stackhouse guarded by Arkansas’ Scotty Thurman during their 1995 national semifinal game played on April 1, 1995 in Seattle’s Kingdome. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

April Fools Day was no laughing matter for UNC in the 1995 NCAA tournament when the Hogs beat the Heels 75 to 68 in the tournament semifinal played at the Seattle Kingdome.  UNC had returned to the Final Four after exiting early in 1994, and Arkansas was the returning national champion.  UNC led at the half 38 to 34.  The score would normally have been 38 to 31, but Arkansas’ Dwight Stewart heaved a 55-foot shot at the buzzer that found nothing but net to end the first half.  The bomb enlivened the lackluster Razorbacks and left the Heels stunned.

The energy boost carried Arkansas well into the second half, reeling off an early 17-to-5 run.  UNC suffered twelve-and-a-half minutes without a score until a three-pointer by Stackhouse with 15:14 left to play.  Carolina closed the deficit to one, 69 to 68, with 47.7 seconds left, but the Tar Heels scoring ended there.  They made only seven shots in the closing half after hitting fifteen in the opener, including seven threes.  Equally domineering, Arkansas made ten shots from close-range inside the paint in the second half, compared to Carolina’s two.  Donald Williams, now a senior, finished with nineteen points, but Corliss “Big Nasty” Williamson scored the same amount in just the second half, finishing with twenty-one. UNC’s Jerry Stackhouse scored eighteen.

Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson said afterward, “We’re called the ‘Cardiac Kids’ and we tried to do it again.” With their victory Arkansas earned the right to defend their title against UCLA, which defeated Oklahoma State 74 to 61. UCLA, however, denied the Razorback repeat by scoring an eleven-point win, 89 to 78.  After the season, as a junior, Williamson declared for the 1995 NBA draft and was the thirteenth pick overall by the Sacramento Kings.  From UNC, Jerry Stackhouse was the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Washington Bullets selected Rasheed Wallace next as the fourth selection.  Both Stackhouse and Wallace left UNC as sophomores.

Post Script

Morton also photographed the North Carolina versus Arkansas regional semifinal in March 1990 won by Arkansas 96 to 73, but there are no images of that game in the online collection of images.

Posted in Basketball, Sports, UNC | Comments Off on The Razorbacks are back