1982 — UNC’s First Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

In 1982, UNC held its first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Day Celebration. The multi-day celebration included a variety of events honoring Dr. King and his legacy. The featured speaker at the University-wide celebration was Dr. Prezell R. Robinson, president of St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh and of the United Negro College Fund.  Originally scheduled for January 15, the celebration was postponed due to snow and ice in Chapel Hill. The event featuring Dr. Robinson was held on January 28, 1982.

Program cover Inside of program, p. 1 Inside of program, p. 2 Back cover of program

Program from the Records of the Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Christopher C. Fordham, 1980-1988 (40024).

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First Black Female FBI Agent was UNC-Chapel Hill Alumna

The Carolina Times, February 21, 1976

The Carolina Times, February 21, 1976

The first black woman FBI agent in the United States was UNC-Chapel Hill’s Sylvia Elizabeth Mathis (J.D., 1975). Hers was a life framed by a commitment to service, a dedication to family, and marked by numerous accomplishments.

In May 1975, Mathis graduated from UNC School of Law and soon thereafter passed the North Carolina Bar. But her accomplishments did not start or stop there; before her time in Chapel Hill, Mathis had also attended Fisk (1968-69) and then New York University (1969-72), where she received a Bachelor’s in Political Science. Right after law school, she stayed in North Carolina and worked for the Department of Cultural Resources.

At age 26, Mathis became the first black female FBI agent, beginning her training at Quantico in February 1976. She was also the very first female agent recruited in the state of North Carolina. At the time, only 41 agents out of a total of 8,500 in the country were women. Quoted in the February 7, 1976 issue of the Virginian Pilot newspaper, Mathis explained, “…I am interested in delving into the relation of defending of rights and enforcement of rights. Going into the FBI seemed like a natural step.”

Mathis was assigned to the New York office of the FBI where she worked as a special agent and then as an advisor to the Office of Legal Counsel (1979-80). She then returned to Jacksonville, Florida to care for her parents in 1982. Accounts vary as to whether Mathis was a Florida or North Carolina native, but while the family may have had Durham connections, Jacksonville was where her parents had called home for many years, and Sylvia had attended Bishop Kenny High School in the city.

Just the next year, in 1983, Sylvia’s life was tragically cut short by a car accident at age 34. At the time of her death, she worked as the Director of the Jacksonville Downtown Ecumenical Service Council, providing support to homeless and unemployed residents of the city. Shortly before her death, she was awarded “Ms. Metro” by the Jacksonville weekly newspaper, The Metropolis. A volunteer who worked with Mathis was quoted in the October 19, 1983 issue of the paper that, “She is a very caring person and has given a lot of her time to those who need help.” In a 1984 letter to the UNC publication University Report, Law School professor James B. Craven III remembered that she was a “rare and unforgettable” student, that he “was always proud of her and miss her now.”

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North Carolina Governors Who Went to UNC

When Roy Cooper was sworn in as Governor of North Carolina on January 1st, he became the 32nd North Carolina Governor to have attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here’s the full list.

William Miller Attended 1802 In office 1814- 1817
John Branch Class of 1801 In office 1817-1820
John Owen Attended 1804 In office 1828-1830
David Lowry Swain Attended 1821-1822 In office 1832-1835
Richard Dobbs Spaight Class of 1815 In office 1835-1836
John Motley Morehead Class of 1817 In office 1841-1845
William Alexander Graham Attended 1882-1884 In office 1845-1849
Charles Manly Class of 1814 In office 1849-1851
Warren Winslow Class of 1827 In office 1854-1855
John Willis Ellis Class of 1841 In office 1859-1861
Henry Toole Clark Class of 1826 In office 1861-1862
Zebulon Vance Attended 1851-1852 In office 1862-1865;       1877-1879
Tod Robinson Caldwell Class of 1840 In office 1871-1874
Alfred Moore Scales Attended 1888-1890 In office 1885-1889
Thomas Michael Holt Attended 1849-1850 In office 1891-1893
Elias Carr Attended 1855-1857 In office 1893-1897
Daniel Lindsay Russell Attended 1860-1862 (honorary degree given 1911) In office 1897-1901
Charles Brantley Aycock Class of 1880 In office 1901-1905
William Walton Kitchin School of Law, Class of 1910 In office 1909-1913
Locke Craig Class of 1880 In office 1913-1917
Angus Wilton McLean Attended the School of Law 1890-1892 In office 1925-1929
O. Max Gardner Attended 1905-1906 In office 1929-1933
John C.B. Ehringhaus Class of 1901 In office 1933-1937
Clyde R. Hoey Attended the School of Law 1899 In office 1937-1941
William B. Umstead Class of 1916 In office 1953-1954
Luther H. Hodges Class of 1919 In office 1954-1961
Terry Sanford Class of 1941 In office 1961-1965
Dan K. Moore Class of 1927 In office 1965-1969
James Holshouser School of Law, Class of 1960 In office 1973-1977
James B. Hunt, Jr. School of Law, Class of 1964 In office 1977-1985;      1993-2001
Mike Easley Class of 1972 In office 2001-2009
Roy Cooper Class of 1979 Currently in office
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A sweet spot in time

Souvenir seller outside the Gator Bowl in 1963. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm color slide by the editor.

Souvenir seller outside the Gator Bowl in 1963. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm color slide by the editor.

UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora will be taking his 2016 Tar Heels to the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Friday, December 30, 2016. The game will be featured on CBS at 2:00 p.m.  This will mark Carolina’s thirty-third bowl appearance going back to the 1947 Sugar Bowl. Of the thirty-two previous games, the Tar Heels have won fourteen going back to the 1963 Gator Bowl, a game Tar Heels like to recall.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the 1963 season and Carolina’s first bowl win played on this date fifty-three years ago.

We had everything going. What a great feeling to have been struggling since 1949 (sic) and then have this (Gator Bowl) chance. It was just a sweet spot in time.”

1963 UNC All-America Halfback Ken Willard, 1963 Gator Bowl Anniversary Celebration, October 20, 1984

 In the late summer of 1963 when UNC Head Football Coach Jim Hickey announced that twenty-nine lettermen would be returning from the 1962 squad, some Tar Heel fans rolled their eyes, remembering that the ’62 team won only three games while losing seven. But Hickey quickly added, “It’s a veteran squad with many talented players. Our schedule is rugged, as always, but I feel certain we can give an excellent account of ourselves each Saturday.”

Turns out, Hickey was right. The ’63 Tar Heel team won eight games and was Co-ACC Champion, along with NC State.

The season started out with a come-from-behind-win against Virginia in Kenan Memorial Stadium on September 21, followed by a disappointing blow-out loss at Michigan State one week later.  Then came a five-game win streak with victories over Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State, South Carolina, and Georgia. Then, a second bump in the road versus Clemson in Death Valley followed by a final ’63 win in newly renovated Kenan over Miami.

So a showdown at Duke for an ACC title tie and a bowl invitation was originally scheduled for November 23, 1963; the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Friday, November 22, however, brought the season to a halt.  At first the forty-ninth meeting between Carolina and Duke was re-scheduled for Saturday, November 30.  Then, on Sunday, November 24, it was moved to Thanksgiving Day, November 28.  It would be only the third time the two teams had met on Thanksgiving and photographer Hugh Morton was covering his second Thanksgiving Day Duke-Carolina game.

The roads leading into Duke Stadium (now Wallace Wade Stadium) were crowded at 1:50 p.m. as traffic was backed up on highways N.C. 751 and Interstate 85.  The game was to begin at 2:00 p.m.  At 1:57, fans and players, both Duke and Carolina, faced the half-staffed flag and stood for a minute of silence to pay homage to President Kennedy.  This game was not like the Duke-Carolina battles of years past.  A subdued crowd of 47,500 remained standing as both bands, not in uniform because this was a class holiday, played the National Anthem.

At 2:02 p.m. the game began under cloudy skies.  After a scoreless first quarter, UNC’s great halfback Ken Willard saw his way through the left side of the line, got great blocks from John Hammett and Eddie Kesler, and dragged Duke’s Danny Litaker the final three yards into the end zone.  The play covered 14 yards. It was 2:55 p.m., the sun had come out, and Carolina led 7-0. There was no more scoring in the first half and there was no formal halftime show, but a Tar Heel fan swiped the Duke Blue Devil’s pitch fork and ran across the field, the Blue Devil in pursuit. One of the Duke cheerleaders made a head-on tackle, but the spear was tossed to a Tar Heel cheerleader who pitched it into the stands. Duke security police stood by and laughed.

Early in the third quarter, UNC completed a twelve-play-scoring-drive covering 77 yards, to take a 13-0 lead. Halfback Eddie Kesler scored from one yard out, but Tar Heel kicker Max Chapman missed the extra point. Duke came back on the following series with a 70-yard pass play from quarterback Scotty Glacken to halfback James Futrell.  With 4:15 remaining in the third quarter, the score was UNC 13, Duke 7, and the quarter ended with no additional scoring.

With just over five minutes remaining in the game, Duke’s Jay Wilkinson made one of the great plays of the game. With Duke at the Carolina 24-yard-line, he hit left tackle, cut back, faked UNC’s Eddie Kesler, and ran the distance for the score. Steve Holloway’s extra point gave Duke the lead 14-13. It was 4:12 p.m. and getting dark as that second quarter sun was nowhere to be seen.

With 4:58 on the game clock, Carolina got the ball back—but not for long.  Quarterback Junior Edge’s pass was intercepted by Duke’s Stan Crisson who returned to the Tar Heel 34-yard line. There were those in light blue who said, “We just gave Duke another victory.”  Duke, however, was unable to get a first down and Carolina got the ball on its own 28-yard line with 1:28 left to play.  Quarterback Junior Edge and left end Bob Lacey moved the ball steadily down the field.  When they reached the Duke 21-yard line, there was but thirty-eight seconds left in the game and it was fourth down and fifteen yards to go. Coach Hickey sent in kicker Max Chapman and holder Sandy Kinney. Chapman’s field goal was perfect and Carolina led 16-14.

Duke head coach Bill Murray receives an explanation from a referee—probably after Max Chapman's filed goal as the frame below is the next image on the roll of film. According to the High Point Enterprise sports write Bob Hoffman, "In a matter of seconds after UNC's Max Chapman booted a 42-yard filed goal . . . Murray had charged onto the field and was chin-to-chin with one of the officials." Murray said the clock didn't stop after the field goal. The official contended that only six seconds clicked off the clock. Murray disagreed because, as he explained after the game, "I had gotten together a group of players to go back into the game, talked to the quarterback, run out onto the field and got the official's attention to stop the clock. I just can't move that fast." (Scan of Hugh Morton's negative is shown full frame.)

Duke head coach Bill Murray receives an explanation from a referee—probably after Max Chapman’s filed goal as the frame below is the next image on the roll of film. According to the High Point Enterprise sports write Bob Hoffman, “In a matter of seconds after UNC’s Max Chapman booted a 42-yard filed goal . . . Murray had charged onto the field and was chin-to-chin with one of the officials.” Murray said the clock didn’t stop after the field goal. The official contended that only six seconds clicked off the clock. Murray disagreed because, as he explained after the game, “I had gotten together a group of players to go back into the game, talked to the quarterback, run out onto the field and got the official’s attention to stop the clock. I just can’t move that fast.” (Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative is shown full frame.)

A long discussion among the officials and the time keeper followed, after which they reset the clock to 0:33.  Duke mounted a rally, but time ran out. It was 4:40 p.m and the game was over.  Two minutes later, UNC Athletic Director Chuck Erickson and Gator Bowl Selection Chairman Joseph G. Sykora stepped into the press box.  Said Erickson: “We’ve been invited to the Gator Bowl and we’ve accepted.”  The two men shook hands, and Sykora added, “I think I’ve seen a bowl game today.”

With the game in hand, UNC fans took the goal post into their own hands. Scan of Hugh Morton's negative, shown full frame, follows the frame shown above.  There are no identified game-action negatives in the Morton collection.

With the game in hand, UNC fans took the goal post into their own hands. Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative, shown full frame, follows the frame shown above. There are no identified game-action negatives in the Morton collection.

Twelve seasons had come and gone since UNC’s legendary All-America Charlie Justice led the 1949 Tar Heels into the 1950 Cotton Bowl. But Carolina was headed to its fourth bowl game, the nineteenth annual Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida to meet the Air Force Academy.

Carolina went to St. Augustine, Florida and set up training headquarters in preparation for the December 28 game.  On Thursday evening, the 26th, the Tar Heels had a very special guest drop by their Ponce De Leon Hotel: ninety-one-year-old William Rand Kenan, Jr. dropped by to wish the team well.  (By the way, Mr. Kenan owned the hotel where the Tar Heels were staying.)  Back in Jacksonville, the Carolina crowd began to arrive at alumni headquarters in the Hotel Robert Meyer where UNC Chancellor William Aycock held a special reception on Friday, the 27th.

On Saturday morning, 5,000 Tar Heel faithful got up early for a pep rally and brunch at the Jacksonville Coliseum.  Also in attendance were UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith, North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford, and former North Carolina governor and current United States Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges.

Luther Hodges waves two UNC banners during the 1963 Gator Bowl.

Luther Hodges waves two UNC banners during the 1963 Gator Bowl.

At 2:00 p.m. it was game time and CBS Sports was in place to send the game out nationally. Also in place was a sellout crowd of 50,018—10,000 of them Tar Heels— in the 70-degree weather with overcast skies. Hugh Morton was set to document his third Tar Heel bowl game.

With the scoreboard reading 26-0 in the third quarter, a UNC male cheerleader, donning a now-classic sweater, swings his partner 'round and 'round during a moment on the playing field worth swirling about. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm slide by the editor.

With the scoreboard reading 26-0 in the third quarter, a UNC male cheerleader, donning a now-classic sweater, swings his partner ’round and ’round during a moment on the playing field worth swirling about. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm slide by the editor.

Carolina’s 77-yard TD drive in the first quarter started things off and the boys from Chapel Hill never looked back. They led by 20-0 at halftime and picked up additional scores in the third and fourth quarters. The final score was a Gator Bowl record 35-0. UNC Halfback Ken Willard was the hero of the day with 94 yards in eighteen carries and one score—good enough to gain him MVP honors at the awards banquet at the George Washington Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.

UNC quarterback "Junior" Edge (Bias Melton Edge Jr.), scampers toward the Air Force Academy's 20-yard line. Based upon the play-by-play account in The Alumni Review and the scoreboard seen in a 35mm slides two frames later, this is probably Edge's 10-yard run for a first down in during the first quarter. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

UNC quarterback “Junior” Edge (Bias Melton Edge Jr.), scampers toward the Air Force Academy’s 20-yard line. Based upon the play-by-play account in The Alumni Review and the scoreboard seen in a 35mm slides two frames later, this is probably Edge’s 10-yard run for a first down in during the first quarter. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor. At the time of this writing, it’s Morton’s only surviving action photograph from the game.

Following the game, Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Norm Van Brocklin and General Manager Bert Ross were on hand to sign Tar Heel end Bob Lacey to a pro contract. Also on hand was 1964 Miss America Donna Axum who had just returned from Greensboro and their Holiday Jubilee Parade.  “That was some weather we had for that Christmas Parade,” she said, adding, “But it’s better than we’ve had at home [Arkansas] the past week—eleven inches of snow.”  The following morning Axum would be rescued from a tragic fire at the Hotel Roosevelt in Jacksonville.

This unidentified woman appears to be 1964 Miss America Donna Axum, probably during pregame festivities. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

This unidentified woman appears to be 1964 Miss America Donna Axum, probably during pregame festivities. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

The headline in the New York Times on Sunday, December 29 read: “North Carolina Trounces Air Force in Gator Bowl, 35-0.”  The late Hall of Fame sportswriter Dick Herbert, writing in the Sunday, December 29 issue of Raleigh’s News and Observer, opened his report with this: “A superbly prepared North Carolina football team dropped the biggest bomb in the 19-year history of the Gator Bowl here Saturday as it destroyed the Air Force Academy team, 35 to 0.”

On December 28, 1963, for one brief shining moment, the football glory at UNC that had been missing since the “Charlie Justice Era” during the late 1940s had returned and Carolina football was once again in the big time.  The 1963 Tar Heels would be Coach Jim Hickey’s best team and likely his favorite. Jim Hickey passed away on December 27, 1997 at age 77.  On October 4, 2003 when Carolina played Virginia on letterman’s day in Kenan Stadium, the 1963 Gator Bowl Champs were honored on the 40th anniversary of their great win.

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A Holiday Tradition: Frederick Koch’s Reading of a Christmas Carol

A drawing, in green on a white background, of Frederick Koch seated at a table with a candle on it, holding a book and pointing as he reads.

An illustration of Koch performing A Christmas Carol, 1943 (From the Carolina Playmakers Scrapbook, 1942-1943, North Carolina Collection)

When Carolina Playmakers founder Frederick Koch came to UNC in 1918, he brought with him a holiday tradition – annual dramatic readings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Each year, he performed the classic Christmas tale on campus and in towns across North Carolina and beyond, sometimes performing it 15 or more times each season. The tradition started in 1906, when Koch was at the University of North Dakota:

Far away, it seems now, on the winter prairie of Dakota I was impelled with the desire to read again for my own enjoyment Charles Dickens’ immortal ghost story, A Christmas Carol. Fresh from Harvard, I was then a very young instructor at the State University of North Dakota… In that lonely isolation on the Great Flat I was pretty homesick, I guess, when I thought of the cheerful fireside associations I had left behind me in the East – of home, and friends at Christmastime. It was a Sunday afternoon that I read the story, and felt myself greatly cheered by it. So much so, that I mentioned the fact to a little group at supper in the University commons that evening with the comment: “Everybody ought to read Dickens’ Christmas Carol every year before Christmas.”

The dean of women spoke up: “Well, if you feel that way about it, you ought to read it for us.” On the following Sunday afternoon, the last Sunday before Christmas, I read A Christmas Carol, seated in a great armchair beside a crackling wood-fire. Outside the snow was blowing and drifting with a bitter wind, but inside all was warm with the glow from the hearth and from the mellow light of the candles. I remember distinctly the big bowl of crisp, green holly leaves someone had brought, and the soft singing of girls’ voices of the old songs we cherish at Christmas: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World.” So it began. The next year, and the next, and the next.

-Frederick Koch (Burlington Daily Times-News, December 13, 1933)

(An audio clip from one of Koch’s performances, year unknown, from the Records of the Department of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures, University Archives)
Program for a 1943 performance of A Christmas Carol (From the Carolina Playmakers Scrapbook, 1942-1943, North Carolina Collection)

Program for a 1943 performance of A Christmas Carol (From the Carolina Playmakers Scrapbook, 1942-1943, North Carolina Collection)

Koch’s performances brought the story to life without the aid of elaborate costumes or sets. The Raleigh News and Observer said that at a 1919 performance in Gerrard Hall, he “[sat] alone on the stage, the chapel dark except for the light at his table, with a background of Christmas trees gaily decorated behind him.” According to the newspaper’s report, he read “with spirit, vividness, and a fine touch of feeling,” and the two intermissions during the show featured carols by university singing groups.

By the end of his life, Koch had performed the story over 245 times – 39 times on the UNC campus. His readings had been broadcast on radio and television, and were a beloved annual tradition for many. After Koch’s death in 1944, the tradition was taken up by Samuel Selden, Koch’s successor as chair of the Dept. of Dramatic Art and director of the Carolina Playmakers. From 1966 through the early 1980s, the annual reading was performed by Earl Wynn of the Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures.

See also: “A Christmas Carol with a Playmakers’ Flair,” North Carolina Miscellany

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Michael Eric Dyson’s 1996 Commencement Speech

Twenty years ago this week, UNC professor Michael Eric Dyson delivered the commencement address at the winter graduation ceremony. The speech, “Is America Still a Dream?,” was immediately controversial.

Daily Tar Heel, 7 January 1997.

Daily Tar Heel, 7 January 1997.

Dyson, a faculty member in the department of communications, wrote about rap music and contemporary African American culture, topics he addressed in his commencement speech. Dyson spoke first about the idea of the American dream, saying, “The only hope for extending the American Dream is an acknowledgment that for many it has not been achieved.” He talked about the anger and frustration of many young people in the so-called “Generation X” and argued that youth culture in general, and rap music in particular, “sometimes conceals, at other times reveals, personal and social pain, the stark underside of the American Dream.”

Defending contemporary rap against its critics, Dyson said that in the work of many rappers “there is also a celebration of the freedom of lyrical creativity, rhetorical dexterity and racial signification.” He gave examples, quoting from the lyrics of Snoop Doggy Dogg and Notorious B.I.G., some of which included profanity.

Dyson encouraged the graduates to “get rid of the amnesia that clogs the arteries of American national memory” and to acknowledge that “the American Dream has been long in the making, and that your piece of it today as a college graduate, has come at great expense.” In his closing remarks, he commented on Michael Jordan’s recent gift to the UNC School of Social Work, and expressed disappointment that Jordan did not donate to support the new Black Cultural Center at Carolina.

editorialfull

Daily Tar Heel, 8 January 1997.

The use of occasional profanity, the criticism of Jordan, and the overall challenging tone of the speech were controversial. Apparently some students and parents walked out during the speech, but the larger outcry came later in local media and in letters from alumni to UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker. Several parents who attended the ceremony wrote to Hooker with complaints, as did many more alumni who read about it in local papers.

In his responses, Hooker was often apologetic, writing to one parent, “In my judgment, our speaker could have advanced his thesis without using offensive language, especially at a family-oriented ceremony such as graduation. Commencement is an occasion that calls for challenging, but also inspiring and uplifting comments.” A Daily Tar Heel editorial criticized Hooker, writing, “More than anything, he should have stood up for the truth behind Dyson’s comments. In sparking such controversy, he dared to present a harsh truth in place of sugar-coated platitudes.

Ultimately, the focus on the rap lyrics and the comments about Jordan overshadowed the larger content and message of Dyson’s speech. A Charlotte Observer editorial a few days later noted that his message was “not so radical,” continuing: “He was challenging graduates to understand our American history, the good and the bad in all its complexity.” In the Daily Tar Heel coverage of the controversy, Jane Brown, who was Chair of the Faculty, said, “The focus on the language in the rap lyrics distracted from the main message. (Dyson) was speaking for people who are rarely spoken for. A lot of people appreciated that.” The DTH editorial was even more direct: “Dyson, instead of facing criticism, should have received a standing ovation.”

Dyson left UNC in 1997 for a faculty position at Columbia University. He is currently on the faculty at Georgetown University and continues to write and speak about African American history and culture.

Sources and Further Reading:

Michael Eric Dyson: http://www.michaelericdyson.com/.

Charlotte Observer, 22 December 1996.

Daily Tar Heel, 7 January 1997 and 8 January 1997.

Independent Weekly, August 20-26, 1997.

Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Michael Hooker Records, 1995-1999. Series 1, folder 29 (Commencement: General, January – March 1997). University Archives.

Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): C. D. Spangler, Jr., Records, 1986-1997. Series 2.1, folder 809 (Commencement, December 15, 1996 – Mike Dyson Controversy). University Archives.

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German Language during World War I

Everything gets more stressful when parents get involved, especially choosing courses. In 1918, Llewellyn French signed up for a chemical engineering course that required 2 years of German.  At the time, the U.S was fighting Germany in World War I.  The war sparked a backlash against German culture and language.  Llewellyn’s father, William, protested his son’s enrollment in German language in a letter to University President Edward Kidder Graham, “I thought every true American institution had discarded everything pretaining [sic] to the cursed German nation, and I assure you I for one am just red blooded enough not to allow it in my family.  German cannot be spoken in my presence.”

President Graham responded the next day, explaining that the chemistry faculty found that students who didn’t read German had difficulty in that particular course. While it might seem like chemistry has nothing to do with foreign language,  in the early 20th century many scientific texts were written in German.  He further presented his own position on the language debate, arguing that educated men should continue learning German.   After all, he said, “I do not think we should cease to study cancer simply because the cancer preys upon the healthy body.”  However, Graham conceded that elementary schools should teach French, the language of America’s ally, rather than German.

This is not the only time that President Graham was asked to weigh in on the debate over German language. Other university presidents and the United States Commissioner of Education sent letters requesting that Graham make a public statement on his position.  These letters, including the elder French’s incendiary missives, are preserved in the University of North Carolina Papers at the University Archives.  You can see part of the exchange below:

Letter from W.A. French to President Edward Kidder Graham, August 14, 1918 Letter from President Edward Kidder Graham to W.A. French, August 15, 1918 (1 of 2) Letter from President Edward Kidder Graham to W.A. French, August 15, 1918 (2 of 2)
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Carolina Firsts: Henry Owl

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

From the 1927 "Hacawa," student yearbook at Lenoir Rhyne College.

From the 1927 “Hacawa,” student yearbook at Lenoir Rhyne College.

Henry Owl, a member of the Eastern band of Cherokee Indians, was the first Native American student to attend UNC.  Owl came to Carolina in the fall of 1928 and graduated the following year with a Master of Arts in History.

Owl was born in 1896 near Rattlesnake Mountain in western North Carolina. He attended the school at the Cherokee reservation, which at the time went only through eighth grade. Owl began his college education at the Hampton Institute, a primarily African American school in Hampton, Virginia. After leaving Hampton, Owl joined the U.S. Army and then taught briefly in Oklahoma. He returned to North Carolina in 1925 to enroll in Lenoir College (now Lenoir-Rhyne University) in Hickory.

At Lenoir, Owl was a member of multiple college clubs and was elected “Most Popular Boy.” He was also a star athlete, playing football and baseball. He was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. According to Lenoir-Rhyne, Owl was the first Cherokee to graduate from a North Carolina college. 

Not long after coming to Chapel Hill, Owl was mentioned in a Daily Tar Heel article about UNC’s “most cosmopolitan student body,” which discusses the growing number of international and out-of-state students at the university, despite the fact that Owl was neither an international nor an out-of-state student.    

Owl wrote his master’s thesis on the history of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. The thesis, The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Before and After Renewal, is available in Wilson Library.

In 1930, just a year after graduating from UNC, Owl was prohibited from voting in Swain County. A profile in a the Lenoir-Rhyne alumni magazine described what happened:

[Owl’s daughter, Gladys Cardiff] said her father often discussed this incident. “North Carolina had some issue that they knew the tribe would be voting against,” she said. In those days the state had a literacy test for voters. When Owl tried to register, he was turned away on the grounds that he was illiterate. Owl left the courthouse and returned with a copy of his master’s thesis.

The story of Owl’s struggle to vote eventually reached the U.S. Congress, which passed a law affirming that Cherokees in North Carolina were citizens and had the right to vote.

Owl worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a teacher and principal on reservations in North Carolina, Montana, and South Dakota. He moved with his family to Seattle where he worked as a counselor at the Veteran’s Administration and later as an inspector at Boeing. Wary of the racism that he knew he and his family would encounter on leaving the reservation, Owl began using his wife’s last name, Harris. He died in Seattle in 1980.

In addition to the new Carolina Firsts scholarship named in Owl’s honor, in 2011, the Department of American studies announced an endowed scholarship named The Henry Owl Scholarship Fund for Undergraduate Students.  The scholarship provides need-based assistance to undergraduate majors in the American Studies department, with preference given to those studying American Indian and Indigenous Studies.

Sources and Further Reading:

“Living in Two Worlds,” Profile: The Magazine of Lenior-Rhyne College, Winter 2007. https://archive.org/stream/profilemagazineo2007wunse#page/10/mode/2up

“The Henry Owl Scholarship and a Class in ‘Gumption,’ UNC Arts & Sciences Magazine, 2014. http://college.unc.edu/2014/11/10/the-henry-owl-scholarship-and-a-class-in-gumption/

“Cherokee Indian Leaders Eloquently Describe to Senators Needs of Tribe.” Asheville-Citizen Times, 27 March 1930.

“Members of Indian Family Win Honors in Scholastic Work.” Asheville-Citizen Times, 27 November 1932

“Owl Family Holds Reunion.” Asheville-Citizen Times, 26 August 1962

“North Carolina Deaths, Funerals: Henry Harris” Asheville-Citizen Times, 11 March 1980

“Lenoir-Rhyne Announces Sports Hall Of Fame Class Of 2012” L-R Athletics, 26 September 2012.  http://lrbears.com/article.asp?articleID=1814

Lenoir-Rhyne University. Hacawa. 1927. http://library.digitalnc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/yearbooks/id/6760/rec/17

“University Presents Most Cosmopolitan Student Body.” Daily Tar Heel. 6 October 1928. https://www.newspapers.com/image/76356709

“First Indian Student at UNC, Henry Owl.” The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History. https://museum.unc.edu/exhibits/show/american-indians-and-chapel-hi/henry-owl

“Henry Owl Fellowship honors American Indian pioneer.” Cherokee One Feather. 31 October 2012. https://theonefeather.com/2011/10/henry-owl-fellowship-honors-american-indian-pioneer/

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Carolina Tweets #archiveunc

When you think of archives you might think of dusty old books and papers tucked away to be used by historians and other academics. Here at the University Archives we preserve plenty of old University records (that are kept dust-free, by the way), but our day-to-day work is actually very focused on the current moment. Without collecting materials that document the present day researchers can’t study the University in the future.

One way we archive the current moment is through collecting student life materials and UNC related web content. With only three full time staff members it can be tough to keep up with all the conversations, events, and activism happening on campus. We can’t do this alone. This is where you come in!

You can actively contribute to the documentation of what’s happening at UNC by using the hashtag #archiveunc on your public tweets or Instagram posts. That’s all you have to do! By using the hashtag, you opt in to having the posts archived for long-term preservation and research access.

How is the content archived? We will periodically use a tool called Archive-It to “crawl” the tweets or posts tagged with the #archiveunc hashtag. Once the posts have been crawled by the Archive-it tool, the data is preserved by the Internet Archive and we provide access through our Archive-It website.

What kind of tweets are we looking for? We’re open to any tweets or Instagram posts related to UNC academics, campus life, and events. For example:

  • Promoting a student organization event? #archiveunc
  • Protesting? #archiveunc
  • Promoting a cause? #archiveunc
  • Sharing activities or chalk messages seen on campus? #archiveunc

If you don’t use #archiveunc, we may be in touch to ask permission to add your social media content or website to the Archives. Collecting social media content as it unfolds is new for us. We’re experimenting, so how we ask for permission and the technology used may evolve over time. As things change, we’ll keep you in the loop.

We hope you’ll join us in this exciting new effort!

Not interested in social media? Other ways to get involved and help document Carolina history:

  • Submit photos of UNC shirts to the UNC T-Shirt Archive.
  • Connect with us regarding donation of student organization records, digital or print photos, videos, or campus posters/flyers. If it documents something happening at UNC, we’re happy to talk about adding it to the archives. Please email (archives@unc.edu) us to get the process started.
  • Nominate a UNC website for archiving. First check to see if we’ve already archived the website: https://archive-it.org/collections/3491. If the website can’t be found in our web archives, send us an email (archives@unc.edu) to get the process started.
Posted in Events, outreach, preserving history, social media, Student LIfe, Student Life and Student Organizations, University History, web archiving | Comments Off on Carolina Tweets #archiveunc

Summer in the Archives: Carolina’s Untold History Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Photo from the Southeastern Gay Conference, from the 1976 Yackety Yack

Photo from the Southeastern Gay Conference, from the 1976 Yackety Yack

We are pleased to announce a new research fellowship for undergraduate students who are interested in getting hands-on experience with archival research and who want to contribute to the ongoing conversation about UNC history.

The University Library and the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC History are sponsoring four undergraduate research fellowships for summer 2017. The fellows will work in the University Archives in Wilson Library on research projects that will help to expand the existing narrative of UNC history. The research will focus on underrepresented, excluded, or misrepresented people and events – the “untold” stories that have not made it into traditional accounts of Carolina’s history.

How to Apply

The Carolina’s Untold History fellowships will be administered through the Office of Undergraduate Research as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Visit the SURF website for more information about how to apply. http://our.unc.edu/students/funding-opportunities/surf/

A color photo of UNC housekeepers holding a sign that reads "The UNC Housekeepers Association" in front of the "Silent Sam" Confederate monument on the UNC campus.

A demonstration of the UNC Housekeepers Association, circa 1996.

Research Topics

As part of the application process, students will work with a faculty adviser and with the staff of the UNC University Archives to develop a research topic. Topics will be related to UNC history and must focus on aspects of university history that have not been covered at length in existing histories of UNC. University Archives staff can help applicants determine whether there are sufficient archival resources to support the nine-week fellowship. Students should contact the University Archives to discuss potential topics: archives@unc.edu.

Sample Topics

The following are just examples of the types of topics students might choose to explore.

A black and white photo of women students doing laundry in a dormitory in 1948.

Women students doing laundry in a dormitory, 1948.

Applicants are encouraged to be thoughtful and creative about their research topics and should contact the University Archives to discuss potential research ideas.

  • The origins of the Carolina Gay Association in 1974 and the struggle for early LGBTQ organizations at UNC to receive recognition and support.
  • A look at racial segregation practices on the UNC campus before and after the arrival of the first African American students in the 1950s.
  • The practice of hiring slaves to use as college servants prior to emancipation.
  • An examination of the different administrative policies for women students in the early to mid 20th century.

 

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