A New Addition of Athletics Photographs from the 1960s and 1970s

We are excited to announce that a new accession of photographs to the Department of Athletics Collection is available for research. This accession is particularly special since it contains images of less-documented sports — including women’s sports and intramural sports — from the 1960s and 1970s.

Included in this addition are images of the Titleholder’s Championship (also called the Women’s Pro Tournament), held at Southern Pines and sponsored by UNC in 1972.  The Titleholder’s Championship was only a handful of championship-level events for professional women’s golf in the 1970s, and the winner of the event — Sandra Palmer — was one of the most accomplished female golfers of the time. The addition also includes photographs of the 1963 renovations to Kenan Stadium.

The selection of photos below include images of men’s intramural handball; women’s intramural basketball, volleyball, tennis, and bowling.


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Order of the Golden Fleece: Frank Porter Graham Lecture on Excellence Speakers

Founded on April 11, 1904, the Order of the Golden Fleece is the oldest and highest honorary society at UNC. The presiding officer of the organization is called the Jason, and members of the order are called “argonauts.” Membership in the club was closed to women until 1972. Initiates to the society are classically inducted in public “tapping ceremonies,” an event where “giants” (the name for members of the Order disguised in black hoods) roam the audience of a campus event “tapping” those chosen for membership. After the ceremony, a guest speaker is called onto stage to give a lecture. Prior to the 1960s, the ceremony did not always include a lecture. In 1980, the guest lecture was named the Frank Porter Graham Lecture on Excellence. The following list is an incomplete timeline of speakers hosted by the Order of the Golden Fleece.

1930: Harry Woodburn Chase, UNC President

1942: Dr. Urban T. Holmes reads “Jason and the Argonauts”

1954: R. Mayne Albright

1955: Justice William H. Bobbitt

1958: Clifton L. Moore

1959: Lenoir Chambers

1960: Albert Coates

1961: Terry Sanford, NC Governor

1965: Frederick Henry Weaver

1966: Lennox Polk McLendon, Jr.

1967: Edward M. Yoder, Jr.

1968: Professor Walt Spearman

1969: Charles Kuralt

1970: Tom Wicker of the New York Times

1971: Richardson Preyer, NC Congressman

1972: William D. Snider, Editor

1973: James B. McMillan, Federal District Court Judge


1975: Howard Lee, Mayor of Chapel Hill

1976: Ed Yoder

1977: Hamilton Hobgood

1978: Samuel R Williamson

1979: McNeil Smith

1980: Charles Kuralt

1981: Richardson Preyer

1982: Hargrove Bowls, Jr.

1983: Jim Hunt, NC Governor

1984: James Cooper, U.S. Congress, Tennessee

1985: Dean Smith

1986: James Leutze

1987: Terry Sanford, U.S. Senate, N.C.

1988: Anson Dorrance

1989: Alexander Heard

1990: Judith A Hines

1991: Julius L Chambers

1992: Willis Padgett Whichard

1993: Richard Allen Vinroot

1994: Marie Watters Colton

1995: Chuck Stone, Jr.

1996: Shelby Foote

1997: Dr. Julius Chambers

1998: Edwin M Yoder, Jr.

1999: Erskine Bowles

2000: Benjamin S. Ruffin

2001: Richard J. Richardson

2002: Doris Betts

2003: Robert Kirkpatrick

2004: Dr. Francis Collins

2005: Phillip Clay, MIT Chancellor

2006: Woody Durham


2008: Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat

2009: Jonathan Reckford


2012: F. Taylor Branch


2014: Mia Hamm

2015: Carol Folt

2016: Thomas W Ross, Sr.

2017: Kevin Guskiewicz

2018: Bland Simpson



Daily Tar Heel (articles cited above).

Order of the Golden Fleece of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1904-2017
Finding Aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/40160/

G. Nicholas Herman, The Order of the Golden Fleece at Chapel Hill, 1904-2004 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library, 2005), 58.

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April 1968: Carolina Reacts to the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Daily Tar Heel headline reading "King Killed" in large letters

Headline from the Daily Tar Heel, 5 April 1968

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 – 50 years ago today – the reactions of UNC students were emblematic of the complex racial landscape at Carolina. Below is a timeline of events on campus in the week following the assassination.

April 4, 1968 

In an oral history conducted in 2015, alumnus John Sellars remembered the reaction on campus when students learned of Martin Luther King’s assassination: 

Senior yearbook portrait of John Sellars

John Sellars, from the 1971 Yackety Yack yearbook

The night that Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, I was in Hinton James, in my room, studying for class the next day. And all of a sudden I hear people running up and down the hallways, on the balconies, cheering. And so, I go outside to see what’s going on. And somebody says that Martin Luther King, Jr., just got assassinated. And it hit me that the reason for the cheering was because Martin Luther King, Jr., just got assassinated. Again, it gives you an idea of what the mood, what the attitude, what the social and racial structure was at UNC. Again, we’re talking about 1968.

April 5, 1968 

Approximately 60 African American students and local clergy held a memorial service on Polk Place followed by a meeting in Gerrard Hall. Speaking at the meeting, Black Student Movement President Preston Dobbins said, “Martin Luther King’s assassination is the very last time that a black man is going to be killed in this country without violent reaction” (Daily Tar Heel, 6 April 1968).

The Daily Tar Heel reported that approximately 30-40 black students, including Dobbins, walked down Franklin Street and through campus. They purchased several Confederate flags at a Franklin Street store and burned one on the sidewalk and the rest in front of the Kappa Alpha fraternity house.

After learning of violent protests around the country (including in Raleigh, where police used tear gas on student marchers), the Chapel Hill Police enact a voluntary curfew of 8:00pm, asking businesses to close early and suspending alcohol sales. (Daily Tar Heel, 7 April 1968)

People lining the sidewalk on Franklin Street. One holds a sign reading "Brotherhood and Human Dignity." Caption reads "Mourners Line Franklin Street."

From the Daily Tar Heel, 7 April 1968.

April 6, 1968 

Approximately 200 students and local residents line Franklin Street in a silent vigil honoring Dr. King (Daily Tar Heel, 7 April 1968).






From the Hugh Morton Photographic Collection, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive.

 April 7, 1968 

Early in the morning, the Confederate Monument (“Silent Sam”) is spray painted (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968).

Approximately 600 students march from Y Court to the First Baptist Church to pay tribute to Dr. King. Chancellor Sitterson and President Friday are part of the group (Daily Tar Heel, 9 April 1968).

First page of the program for an April 8, 1968 memorial service for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial service program. From the Records of the Office of the Chancellor: J. Carlyle Sitterson (#40022), University Archives. Click the image above to read the full program.

April 8, 1968 

Approximately 2,000 people attended a memorial in honor of Dr. King at Memorial Hall (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968).

 Some students volunteer to clean the Confederate Monument, which was spray painted over the weekend. During the clean-up, two small Confederate flags are placed on the statue, but were removed after an administrator asked them to be taken down (Daily Tar Heel, 9 April 1968).

April 9, 1968 

African American students and approximately 90% of UNC’s African American non-academic workers staged a one-day walkout. Their absence forced a cut in many services across campus, with several dining halls having to close. The boycott was encouraged by Preston Dobbins and BSM to give people time to mourn and show respect to Dr. King. Chancellor Sitterson announced that employees could take a half-day off if they chose (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968).

A letter to the editor in the Daily Tar Heel criticizes King for taking breaking the law and inspiring violent protests. The author says that King’s assassination proves that “they who live by violence, die by it” (Daily Tar Heel, 9 April 1968) 

April 10, 1968 

Daily Tar Heel editorial criticizes the hypocrisy of the white moderates who attend the memorial services but do nothing to support civil rights and social justice for African Americans. On the same page, a letter to the editor criticizes the people who vandalized the Confederate monument, comparing them to King’s assassin (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968). 


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Carolina Gay Association Southeastern Conference, 1976

From April 2-4 of 1976, the Carolina Gay Association (CGA) hosted the first annual Southeastern Gay Conference, a conference dedicated to “furthering the feminist and gay movements.” Tom Carr, the CGA Conference Coordinator, called it “a celebration of the gay lifestyle.” A major theme of the conference was how the gay identity, whether open or hidden, influences society, and that theme was addressed by three out of four of the major spokespersons.

The three spokespeople in question were Dave Kopay, Loretta Lotman, and Perry Deane Young. Dave Kopay was a running back for the Washington Redskins and one of the first professional football players to come out as gay (in December 1975). The Daily Tar Heel reports that in a press conference, Kopay said:

Many athletes are trapped by the feeling of macho heaped on the male in the U.S. To be homosexual and an athlete in unheard of. Hopefully there will be more athletes to come out now.

Young was a former writer for the Durham Morning Herald who was collaborating with Kopay on a book about homosexuality.

Lotman was the media director for the National Gay Task Force, a videotape producer, and additionally founded G-MAN, the Gay Media Alert Network. In her panel she discussed the discrimination faced by lesbians in the workplace and how they dealt with both sexism and homophobia.

The convention’s keynote address was delivered by Franklin Kameny, “the first self-acknowledged homosexual to run for Congress.” Though unsuccessful, he was nonetheless a man described by The Daily Tar Heel as “the country’s leading gay activist.” At the time the article was written, two gay congresspeople had won their seats since Kameny’s campaign. In his address Kameny stated that his campaign, even though it didn’t end with him in Congress, was beneficial to the gay community, partially because of its impact on the government’s political structure and partially as an effort to shift how queer culture was perceived by the minds of the general populace.

Read more about the Carolina Gay Association here.


The Daily Tar Heel 4/05/1976


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Collecting a Snapshot of #SilenceSam

The Confederate Monument on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus has been the subject of controversy and protest for decades. A detailed timeline and corresponding archival materials related to the monument between 1908 and 2015 can be explored online via our Guide to Resources about UNC’s Confederate Monument. While some aspects of the current protests mirror past efforts, social media has facilitated new approaches for sharing information and sparking action on campus. In an effort to document the current protests, we knew it would be important to explore methods for collecting a sampling of tweets related to the Silence Sam protests.  

We decided to use a tool called twarc to harvest tweet data for specific hashtags searches. Twarc is a Python package that makes use of the Twitter API to collect tweets. Between August 22 and December 15, 2017, we performed a weekly search and harvest of #silencesam and #silentsam. In addition, we infrequently captured select complementary hashtags: #boycottunc #boycottunctownhall #iaarchat and the @Move_Silent_Sam user account. 15,063 tweets were collected across all searches. The hashtags #silentsam and #silencesam make the up the majority with 12,993 tweets collected.  

The tweets are in a raw form, so to speak. Twarc returns the tweets and associated metadata in a JSON document. So, in this collection you won’t automatically find a timeline that looks like the Twitter website. Instead, what we have is a structured text document with many lines and each line represents a tweet and associated metadata about that tweet. The data can be manipulated in a variety of ways for analysis or viewing. A wide variety of visualization tools could be useful for working with the data.  

To get started working with this collection, though, you’ll first need a Twitter account and Hydrator or twarc installed.

The first step is to “hydrate” the dataset. There are some specific access stipulations for this collection due to the Twitter API terms of service. We cannot make the full data we collected available for use. In particular, we are unable to make deleted tweets available for use. Instead, we provide a list of the tweet identifiers (tweet ids) for all the tweets we’ve collected in our repository. This list of identifiers can be hydrated by querying the Twitter API for the tweets that are still publicly available. There are two options for hydrating the tweet ids.  

Download the Hydrator tool  

  • You’ll need to authorize the app to connect to your Twitter account.  
  • Upload the tweet identifier document to Hydrator and start the process.
  • Download the hydrated tweets from the tool.

Hydrate using the command line with twarc 

  • This method will require you to have Twitter API credentials. It’s not as intense as it sounds. Social Feed Manager, a project at George Washington University Libraries, provides a helpful guide in their documentation under the Adding Twitter Credentials section. Don’t worry about the parts that are specific to using Social Feed Manager. Your API keys will be entered via command line when setting up twarc. Instructions for setting up twarc are available on GitHub. 

Once you have hydrated the dataset using one of the options above, you’ll have the full text of tweets and metadata in a JSON document or a CSV spreadsheet (from Hydrator).

The next step is to begin working with the data. You could use a variety of tools to visualize the data.  Twarc comes with a few useful “utilities” that can also be used. A few are highlighted below:


Screenshot of a wordcloud. some of the most prominent words are students, confederate, statue, unc, monument, silent, campus, protest

Sample wordcloud generated from collected tweets that included #silentsam or #silencesam (from Fall semester 2017).


Screenshot showing emojis found in tweets. Angry, red face emoji was most used.

The emoji.py program provides a way to tally up the emojis used across collected tweets.


The wall.py program is the best way to generate a timeline of tweets that can be read one by one.

noretweets.py and deduplicate.py 

These programs may be useful if you want to pare down the dataset. We don’t anticipate much duplication of tweets in the dataset, but no deduplication has been performed by us prior to making the collection available.

A note on images and video: There are limitations to collecting video and image files embedded in tweets due to the nature of the collecting by API. You may try using the method shared in this blog post from Tim Sherratt under Get Images. He uses image URLs and wget to gather pictures.

Access the Collection: You can find the collection description here and access to the tweet identifiers documents can be found here 

Other on-going collecting efforts related to the Confederate Monument protests that began on August 22, 2017 can be found:  

If you have materials related to the protests – like photos, signs, or video – and you are interested in donating these materials to the University Archives, please contact us by email archives@unc.edu 

 Other twarc and social media archive resources: 


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Slave Labor and Old East

Building Old East, 1793-1795

On October 12, 1793, construction began on Old East, UNC’s first building and the first public university building in the United States. Slave labor was likely used for the construction of Old East, and used extensively in subsequent repairs and expansion.

The Building Committee made a contract with a white man named James Patterson, a university land donor and slaveholder, to oversee construction of Old East along with two other men serving as undertakers, George Lucas and Patrick St. Lawrence.[1] The building was completed in 1795, but repairs and additions to the building took place throughout the antebellum period.

One indication that enslaved workers worked on Old East’s initial construction comes from a letter written by Patterson in 1795. Patterson mentioned that several of his “own slaves” had painted the roof of Old East that same year, a task he lamented for its dangers and the risk to the slaves’ lives. In subsequent maintenance, repairs, and construction from 1804 onward, many enslaved men worked as carpenters, bricklayers, and plasterers on Old East. Most of them appear to have been owned by slaveholders affiliated with the university or hired from the surrounding area of Orange and Chatham counties.

The records created by free whites such as Patterson can often be frustratingly limited in detail regarding the enslaved black people tasked with the majority of construction. Whites proved primarily concerned with documenting and discussing enslaved people in terms of their economic value, meaning their monetary worth and productive output as unpaid laborers. Indeed, Patterson’s concern for his slaves’ safety stemmed largely from his concerns over losing “a valuable servant.”[2] He never mentioned any of his slaves by name, and while three slaves are tallied in the 1790 census as part of Patterson’s household, no one but Patterson himself was identified by name.

Expanding Old East, 1822

In 1822, a third story was added to Old East under the supervision of designer and builder William Nichols and with the significant aid of enslaved workers. Some of the enslaved men who repaired Old East appear as first names tallied on bills so that their white owners could receive compensation for their labors. Bob and Henry repaired Old East’s foundation and put in stone window sills, while Nelson and Allman worked on the gable ends and chimneys; “Masons Tony” repaired holes in the walls and worked on the roof, while Luke, Isaac, Jonathan, and Caplen all assisted carpenters and performed various general labor tasks.[3] John C. White, who assisted William Nichols with overseeing the repairs and the workmen, presented a bill totaling the enslaved men’s labor at about $395, equivalent to roughly $7,935.35 today. He specified that the payment was “to be paid their several owners,” indicating the continued practice of hiring slaves from the surrounding area.[4] Beyond their first names and costs of their labor, however, it is difficult to parse out much about these enslaved men as individual people.

Bills and receipts for the “boarding of hands” during this time appears to indicate that various townspeople housed white contractors’ and professionals’ slaves for extended periods of time to work on the university buildings.[5] If this was the case, it would mean that these workers were potentially separated from their families and communities for extended periods of time filled with difficult and grueling work. The unabated nature of such labor appears to have taken a toll on these men, several of whom appear on records from 1823 to 1826. A receipt from 1824 indicates that enslaved workers owned by Colonel William Polk and Judge Frederick Nash, both trustees of the university, worked on Old East and several other buildings on campus when normally they would be resting.[6] From November 1823 to January 1824, enslaved workmen Phillips, Daniel, Will, Sam, and Jacob conducted overtime work on “Holy days,” usually the only days which enslaved people received respites from their dawn to dusk labor, as well as “night work.”[7]  Phillips, Jacob, and Sam were noted as carpenters, and likely performed more skilled work, while Will and Daniel worked as sawyers to cut the wood. Isaac and Allen, whose owner is unknown, also worked as sawyers for the Old East repairs. Sterling and Ned also worked on Old East in some capacity, though the records do not clarify what they both did. Nimrod Ragsdale, a white brick maker who provided tens of thousands of bricks for the third story addition to Old East, as well as the construction of Old West, also employed his slaves Dick and Ned Peek to assist him in making and placing the bricks, and it is likely they too conducted work on Old East.[8]

As valuable laborers put to difficult and sometimes dangerous work, enslaved workers at the university appear to have occasionally received some medical treatment. In September 1823, William Nichols received a bill from “Cave” Yancey, potentially a physician by the name of Charles Yancey who lived in Orange County and worked in some capacity near or at the university. The bill listed several visits Yancey made to several named and unnamed enslaved workers, including Peter and Anderson. Throughout 1823, Yancey had administered unspecified medicines, as well as an emetic, treated “bleeding,” and even spent “24 hours attendance” at the side of one worker. In all, the cost was $16.25 to keep enslaved workers sound and functional.[9]

In 1825, in the midst of work on Old East and other university buildings, a man by the name of Joseph Hawkins placed an advertisement in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser offering a $50 reward for the capture and return of an unnamed runaway slave. Hawkins noted that the “cut-finger cad” had been hired “for most of the last two years” to William Nichols and worked at Chapel Hill. The man had likely absconded in order to find his wife, and carried with him distinct clothes and a dagger and pistol, rendering him potentially dangerous.[10] There is no way of knowing what ultimately caused the enslaved man to run away from his position as a hired hand, but perhaps an onerous schedule and the nature of construction work took a toll the man was no longer willing to bear. Perhaps he had been planning to escape for years and finally had an opportunity and the means to do so.

Expanding Old East, 1844-1845

The roof to Old East was repaired and covered with fireproof material in 1842, but this work was largely undocumented. In 1844, the Building Committee hired architect Alexander J. Davis and builders Isaac J. Collier and Kendall Waitt to lengthen both Old East and Old West.[11] The addition and repairs to Old East cost $9,454, or about $301,102.50 today.[12] Collier and Waitt’s contract specified that they were to provide the necessary materials and workers, called “chattels,” for which the white builders would ultimately be compensated.[13] Two highly skilled enslaved laborers, brothers Albert and Osborne, were hired to cover the new additions of Old East and Old West in plaster in 1845.[14] The brothers belonged to Dabney Cosby, himself a builder and brick mason who occasionally worked with Thomas Waitt, likely a relative of Kendall Waitt’s. Cosby owned at least 19 slaves according to the 1840 census, making him a wealthy man. According to Cosby, of the two brothers it was Albert upon whom the builders could “rely” because he performed “firstrate work, his Plaistering and roughcasting here has preference to any done in this part of the state.”[15] Albert’s skills as a plasterer earned him praise and specific mentions in Cobsy’s correspondence, emphasizing the particular importance whites ascribed to enslaved labor.

No other major repairs appear to have been made to Old East during the antebellum era. As the oldest structure on campus, Old East stands as a reminder of the university’s various roles in United States history. Original pieces of Old East, including its cornerstone, remain in the building today. It is thus worth considering the fact that the work conducted by enslaved people continues to shape and impact the university and its students. Enslaved people were fundamental to the creation of the University of North Carolina’s campus.[16]


[1] Battle, 46; OVCFB Records 40095 Series 4.1 Historical Financial Records, 1789 – 1919, Oversize Volume 5 Journal of the University of North Carolina, 1789-1859, p. 5

[2] University of North Carolina Papers, 1757-1935 (#40005), Series 1, Folder 8, James Patterson’s Request for Payment, August 18 1795, https://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/unc02-04/unc02-04.html.

[3] Perhaps one of the masons owned Tony, hence the moniker. Ibid, Folder #79, John C. White’s Bill for Labor of Negro Workmen, [1824], https://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/unc02-49/unc02-49.html.

[4] Ibid; “$395 in 1804 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, 1 Feb. 2018, http://www.in2013dollars.com/1804-dollars-in-2018?amount=395.

[5] University of North Carolina Papers, Series #1, Folder #79, To The University of N Carolina, By John [Thomas], For H Thomson, January 1823;  Folder #79, Of John [Beard], 7th February 1824; Folder #81, To Mrs. Mitchell, May 3 1823; To Magie Henderson, May 29 1823″; Folder #82, Trustees of University to Captain William Nichols for Bills, June 4 1823; To Captain Robert Anderson, From Chapel Hill, July 3 1823; Folder #83, Trio of letters by [Unclear], November 1823; Salley Mitchel, November 15 1823; Folder #84, Disbursements, 1823.

[6] Folder #86, Trustees of University from November 1 $23 up to the 1 of Jan 1, 1824; Building Committee of the University of North Carolina, March 1 1824; Folder #79, Labour of negroes on new building to 1st of Feby, 1823; Folder #104, Account of Money Owed William Nichols for Labor and Materials, September 1, 1826.

[7] Folder #79, Labour of negroes on new building to 1st of Feby, 1823.

[8] Folder #84, William Nichols to John Haywood, November 1823; Folder #85, To Nimrod Ragsdale for 33,279 bricks for old colege…; 66 days work of Dick on the Brick work…75 days work of Ned Peek.

[9] Folder #83, William Nichols by Jno Barr to Cave Yancey, Dr, Sept 15, 1823.

[10] Joseph Hawkins, “$50 Reward For Cut-Finger Cad,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Jan 30, 1825, http://libcdm1.uncg.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/RAS/id/382/rec/6.

[11] University of North Carolina Papers, Letter from Alexander J. Davis to David L. Swain, April 17, 1844, https://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/unc02-33/unc02-33.html.

[12] Ibid, List of Building Specifications and Costs, Compiled by Alexander J. Davis for David L. Swain, [1844?], https://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/unc02-51/unc02-51.html; $9,454 in 1844 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, 1 Feb. 2018, http://www.in2013dollars.com/1844-dollars-in-2018?amount=9454.

[13] University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), Contract between the Board of Trustees and Collier & Waitt, December 20, 1844, https://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/unc02-52/unc02-52.html

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid, Dabney Cosby to Davis L. Swain, May 11, 1846, https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/slavery/item/3363.

[16] Many thanks to Caroline Collins, Kacie England, Jennifer Gay, Claire Paluszak and Sydney Plummer for their exhaustive research on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s buildings and construction.

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Exploring the History and Legacy of Slavery at the University of North Carolina

In 2005, the University Archives put on an exhibit on the history of slavery at UNC. The exhibit materials provided evidence of the use of enslaved laborers in the construction of early campus buildings and as servants for students and faculty, and showed how proceeds from the sale of slaves were used to finance the University. It was an important exhibit— one of the earliest of its kind—but it was only a first step.

After the exhibit came down, scholars and many UNC students have continued to explore the history and legacy of slavery at the University. Last semester, Professor Jim Leloudis led an undergraduate seminar focused on slavery at UNC. The students dug deep into the archives, looking through correspondence, account books, and campus and government records in search of documents that could help further our understanding of the history and legacy of slavery in the building and funding of the university from its founding in 1789 through the end of the Civil War.

This month, we will begin to share some of their findings. Caroline Newhall, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, has been sorting through the materials that the students in the undergraduate seminar uncovered and will be preparing short articles describing what they found and talking about the research process. As these articles are completed, we’ll share them on this blog. Caroline’s first post, about an 1829 runaway slave advertisement, was posted last week. Her work this semester is supported by the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History.

As with the 2005 exhibit, these articles will tell only a small part of the story of slavery at UNC. By sharing these documents and stories, we hope to provide a starting point and to encourage others, including faculty, researchers, family members, and especially students, to continue to explore the history and legacy of slavery at UNC.

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“Ran Off from the University,” 1829

Runaway slave advertisement placed by S.M. Stewart in the Hillsborough (N.C.) Recorder, November 29, 1829.

From the Hillsborough Recorder, 29 November 1829.

On November 20, 1829, a slave by the name of James abandoned his station as a “college servant” at the University of North Carolina. A few days later, one “S.M. Stewart” placed an advertisement in the Hillsborough Recorder, the Petersburg Intelligencer, and the Norfolk Herald in which he offered a $20 reward for James’s recovery.

The advertisement Stewart placed begins:

TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD. Ran off from the University, on the night of the 20th instant, a negro man by the name of JAMES, who has for the last four years attended at Chapel Hill in the capacity of a college servant.

There are at least two possible explanations for James’s presence in Chapel Hill. Until 1845, UNC students were allowed to bring enslaved servants with them to campus. However, the description of James as a “College Servant” could have meant that James also served other students on campus. Early UNC students paid a fee for “servant hire,” which the University used to lease servants from local slaveholders. The college servants were employed in a number of jobs, including cleaning the rooms, tending fires, cooking, caring for animals, and work on the grounds. Some well-known enslaved college servants, such as November Caldwell and David Barham, worked on the campus for many years and were remembered fondly by students. What little we know about James at this point we have to infer from ad:

He is of dark complexion, in stature five feet six or eight inches high, and compactly constructed; speaks quick and with ease, and is in the habit of shaking his head while in conversation. He is doubtless well dressed, and has a considerable quantity of clothing.

James is described in detail, not only regarding his physical appearance but his mannerisms and habits as well. The more detail provided about a runaway, the more likely the chance of success in someone recognizing them from the description. Complexion featured as the primary means of identification in slave advertisements, both for slave sales and for runaways — slave traders and slaveholders had developed a language that formalized apparent differences in skin tone into racial categories.[3] Thus the ad identifies James as “dark” and “compactly constructed,” (probably meaning he was somewhat thin) as well as of average height for the period.

It is presumed that he will make for Norfolk or Richmond with the view either of taking passage for some of the free states, or of going on and associating himself with the Colonization Society.

The fact that S.M. Stewart, who placed the ad, expected James to head for Norfolk or Richmond, both port cities, and went to the trouble of placing the same ad in those locales’ newspapers meant Stewart likely had, or presumed he had, some knowledge of James’s intentions. While many runaway advertisements emphasized enslaved peoples’ families as potential destinations, Stewart seemed sure that James would attempt to head to the free states via the Atlantic, or go so far as to book passage to Africa through the Colonization Society.

We can also infer that Stewart was especially interested in capturing James by the amount he offers as a reward.

A premium of twenty dollars will be given for the apprehension of said slave. The subscriber would request anyone who may apprehend the boy to direct their communications to Chapel Hill. S.M. Stewart. November 24.

In 1829, a $20 reward would be equivalent to about $500 today.[1] Stewart likely came from a wealthier family if he could afford to pay others to track down his escaped “servant,” and could provide a relatively substantial award.[2]

Who Was S.M. Stewart?

The man who placed the advertisement appears to have been Samuel M. Stewart, a young white man who attended UNC in the 1820s, earning a BA in 1823 and a master’s degree in July 1829.[4] We know more about Stewart than we do James due to a larger paper trail. The daily lives of enslaved people, particularly women and children, often prove difficult to reconstruct as a result of “archival silences” – gaps in what was documented and what documentation was preserved.[5] It is thus primarily through Stewart and the advertisement he placed that we can learn more about James.

Stewart hailed from nearby Chatham County in North Carolina, just a few miles from Chapel Hill, and first entered the university as an undergraduate freshman in 1820. He graduated from the university in 1823 with 29 other young men who became leaders in politics, business, religion, and education.[6] Per newspaper articles from the period, Samuel passed his exams but did not merit any honors as a scholar.[7] He was a member of the Dialectic Society; one of his musings on fame is available in Wilson Library.[8]

We have not yet been able to find any additional information about Stewart after he left UNC in 1829. His entry in the Alumni History of the University of North Carolina lists only the years he earned his degrees; there is no information about his life or career after he graduated. A search of North Carolina census records in 1820 names several potential Stewart households in Chatham and Orange counties. In order to narrow down the results, information such as the fact that Samuel M. Stewart would likely have been around 14 when he entered the university as a freshman can prove helpful.[9] A search for families with males between the ages of 10 and 18 narrows down the pool to three households in Orange County: Charles Stewart’s household, which consisted of 9 free whites and 6 enslaved blacks; Samuel Stewart’s (1) household, which consisted of 11 free whites and 5 enslaved blacks; and another Samuel Stewart (2), whose small household had only 3 free whites. Samuel Stewart (2) can probably be ruled out as the household to which Samuel M. Stewart belonged; as a non-slaveholding small farmer, Stewart (2) would have been unlikely to send his only son to a university in this period. However, it is possible that Samuel M. Stewart indeed hailed from this household, and that he hired James’s service as a servant from another slaveholder (a practice common among UNC’s students) after arriving in Chapel Hill.[10] Furthermore, the reward Samuel offered in the runaway advertisement indicates a certain degree of wealth that most small farmers’ sons would be unable to offer in this period. The 1830 census shows only one “Laml Stewart” household, but the males of the household are too young to have been the correct Samuel Stewart. It appears that Samuel M. Stewart departed from Chapel Hill between the time he placed the advertisement in November 1829 and the census was taken.

From the records we’ve examined so far, we do not know what happened to Stewart or to James. Neither one left an easy-to-follow paper trail, but there are still many possibilities for further research, including census records from other states, probate records, court records, and more. It is our hope that as we discover and share more about the history of slavery at the University, we can inspire and encourage others to explore further and help to expand our understanding of the role of slavery and enslaved people at UNC.


Suggested Further Reading

Freddie L. Parker, Running for Freedom: Slave Runaways in North Carolina, 1775-1840 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1993)

Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999)

John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Thavolia Glymph, Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Edward Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (New York: Basic Books, 2014)

Manisha Sinha, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016)

Daina Ramey Berry, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Boston: Beacon Press, 2017)



[1] “$20 in 1829 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, accessed Jan. 20, 2018,  http://www.in2013dollars.com/1829-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.

[2] John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 167-168.

[3] Walter Johnson, “The Slave Trader, the White Slave, and the Politics of Racial Determination in the 1850s,” The Journal of American History, Vol. 87, No. 1 (Jun 2000), 13-38.

[4] Freeman’s Echo (Wilmington, NC), Jul. 11, 1829.

[5] Enslaved people are not often found in the genealogical histories of the white families who bought them, enslaved them, and sold them. Nor were enslaved peoples’ names, birth dates, family members, professions, and addresses included in any census or in most records until after emancipation. Prior to 1870, only free black men entered the census record with names. From 1790 to 1860 the census only enumerated enslaved black people as part of whites’ personal wealth, and then by age, sex, and coloring. Enslaved people most often entered the historical record in glancing mentions made by literate whites in the antebellum era. Enslaved peoples’ further lack of control over their own names and homes as part of a paternalist and racialized slave system creates difficulties in locating particular individuals. Court cases, deeds, bills of sale, marriage records, county will books, probate records, and runaway slave advertisements remain the primary means by which to secure the names of slaves and details about their lives.

[6] Kemp Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, Volume I: From Its Beginning to the Death of President Swain, 1789-1868 (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1907), 791.

[7] “University,” The Raleigh Minerva (Raleigh, NC), Jun. 30, 1820; “University of North Carolina,” The Hillsborough Recorder (Hillsborough, NC), Jun. 13, 1823.

[8] Samuel M. Stewart, “Inaugural Address, 26 March 1823,” Dialectic Society of the University of North Carolina Records, 1795-1964.

[9] Battle, 571.

[10] Ibid, 230.

[11] William Mebane, “Five Dollars Reward” North Carolina Journal (NC) Mar 3, 1797; Solomon Neville,  “Fifty Dollars Reward,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Sept 16, 1814; Solomon Neville, “Twenty Dollars Reward,” The Star (NC), Apr 5, 1811; Wyatt Ballard,  “Ran Away,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), May 21, 1804; Charles King and Stephen Lloyd,  “Notice,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Oct 6, 1805.

[12] Christopher Barbee, “Ten Dollars Reward,” Hillsborough Recorder (NC), Jul 25, 1831; E. Mitchell, “Fifty Dollars Reward,” North Carolina Standard (NC), Mar 13, 1835; Charles R. Yancey, “30 Dollars Reward,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Jan 9, 1829; Louisa S. Thompson, “Fifty Dollars Reward, Stop the Runaways,” The Weekly Standard (NC), Aug 12, 1846; Joseph Hawkins, “$50 Reward for Cut-Finger Cad,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Feb 11, 1825.

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The Avery Incident, 1977

On April 22, 1977, Brooksie Harrington wrote a letter to The Daily Tar Heel about an event that occurred as he hurried past Avery dorm three days prior.

As I passed, I was bombarded with racial slurs and obscenities. Now if I had been as utterly stupid as the person shouting, I would have gladly sought him out and beat him senseless. But the coward shouted from one of the upper floors. Not only that but I was drenched with water, as some of the guys threw water from the upper windows. (DTH 4/22/1977)

As it turned out, Brooksie wasn’t the only victim. Around midnight, a large group of black students fell victim to the assault after attending a Campus Governing Council meeting where they demanded increased student government funding. According to Black Ink, the official publication of the Black Student Movement, three groups of BSM members were pelted with “water bags and obscenities” (Black Ink 9/9/77). The organization sought to prosecute several residents of Avery with little success, insisting that the incident was racially motivated.

A 1977 collage of UNC African American students in an issue of Black Ink.

BSM Vice-Chairperson Phyllis Pickett didn’t buy that the event was a prank, asking, “[h]ow many people pass by [Avery] at 12:00, coming from the library or whatever? Definitely not enough to hit with such a large quantity of water” (Black Ink 9/9/1977).

An investigation was carried out by Lt. David Williams of the University Police, who filed a comprehensive report containing accusations by fifteen black students. The Student Attorney General at the time, Elton Floyd, decided not to prosecute the water balloon throwers because there was a “lack of sufficient evidence” (DTH 10/17/1977). Despite having insufficient evidence, Floyd held a report by the University Police for 6 months, a report containing signed confessions of involvement by seven of Avery’s residents. Each confessed to different degrees of involvement, but all insisted that the prank wasn’t a purposefully racist attack.

In his written deposition for the police, which was quoted in Black Ink, Avery resident Scott Young said “The Blacks totally blew this thing out of proportion and just wanted some added attention. Because of the Blacks’ falseness etc. of the facts concerning this incident, my opinion of the Black is considerably lower.” (Black Ink, 9/7/1977)

Another Avery resident, David Osnoe, said in his deposition, “There is no need for a BSM (Black Student Movement) because it is a separate, distinct, racist organization. It should be changed to be called ASM (All Students Movement) to promote brotherhood and friendship between all races here at the University” (Black Ink 9/9/1977). In 1977, fewer than 7% of students were African American.

Lt. Williams agreed with the Avery residents in his summary of the case: “The Avery Incident appears to have been a prank that later turned racial, rather than being racially motivated from the beginning.”  The confessions by the residents of Avery were inadmissible in Honor Court because the University Police told residents that statements wouldn’t be used against them for prosecution (DTH, 10/17/1977).

BSM chairperson Byron Horton said that he didn’t consider the Avery incident a closed case and that he would continue to push for the prosecution of those responsible “to eliminate recurrence of such incidents” (DTH 10/21/77). Despite Horton’s protests, Floyd only reiterated that the case was closed (DTH 10/26/77).


Daily Tar Heel (articles cited above).

Black Ink (articles cited above).

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill records, 1945-1990 (bulk 1973-1980)
Finding aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/40301/

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Behind the Scenes: Introducing Really Old Website Resurrector (ROWR)

From time to time the University Archives finds copies of departmental websites stored on CDs or DVDs as directories of html and other associated files. These websites are usually no longer available on the web. When we receive CD/DVDs from University departments, the files are carefully copied from the optical media (a relatively unstable storage medium) and deposited with our repository which is designed specifically for digital materials preservation. However, accessing a website as a directory of individual files rather than web pages in a browser leaves something to be desired. The content might be available, but the use is very different than what was originally intended. Additionally, from an archival standpoint we would like all archived websites to be stored in the WARC file format (an international standard).  

In reviewing these items in our collections last year, I began to wonder if it would be possible to temporarily host the websites again. Once hosted online, we could crawl the website with Archive-It, which is the tool we use for website archiving. This method would allow us to provide access to the webpages as a site, connect the websites with the rest of our archived website collections, and generate a WARC file copy of the site’s contents. Luke Aeschleman, then of the library’s software development department, helped me with this project by creating a tool, ROWR, to clean up links and prepare for hosting the site.  

ROWR prompts the user for a directory of website files as well as appropriate actions for modifying or removing links. ROWR creates a copy of the site prior to making changes so it is possible to reset and start over, if needed.  ROWR also keeps track of the files and folders it has scanned, so it is possible to stop and continue review of the site later.

ROWR essentially produces a website that has a new artificial URL to facilitate temporary hosting of the website through a library server. This URL is then added to the Archive-It application and we run a standard crawl of the site. Once the crawl is tested and finalized, we take the website down from the library server.  

We tested this approach with two websites. Overall the process works fairly well, but I did come up against some unique collection management and description needs. For example:

  • Do we need to keep a copy of the files from the CD/DVD or can we discard it and just use the Archive-It version?  
  • The crawl date in Archive-It is completely different from the date the website was created and originally used. How should we represent these dates to users in metadata and other description?  
  • ROWR is changing the content and we are creating an artificial URL, so how do we communicate this to users and what would they want to know about these changes?  
  • It can be time consuming to use ROWR and clean-up all the links.

I decided that we should keep the copy from the CD/DVD available in the repository as it is representative of the original website and the verison in Archive-It contains an artificial URL. To address the other issues we added some language to finding aids:

“An alternative version made for access is available hereThis website was transferred to the University Archives on optical disc. To aid preservation and access the website files were temporarily re-hosted online and archived with Archive-It in 2017.”

In Archive-It, I also created a URL group (“website cd archives”) for the websites that were part of this test project in an attempt to set them apart from our typical web archiving work. I’ve not yet found a satisfactory way to provide context for these website in the Archive-It access portal with Dublin Core metadata, but I hope that the group tag can be a clue that more information exists if a user were to ask us.  

These two approaches to description are likely not the permanent solutions to the collection management challenges, but it is a starting point that provides an easier way to access these particular websites online. A future project for us will be to assess metadata description in Archive-It for all of our archived websites.  

ROWR is in an early iteration and is not being actively developed at this time, but you can find the code on the UNC Libraries’ GitHub. In the months since we wrapped up this project in the summer of 2017, the Webrecorder team introduced a tool called warcit. The tool can transform a directory of website files into the WARC file format. The resulting WARC file could then be accessed in the Web Recorder Player application. This new tool is something else we’ll be exploring as we continue to improve procedures for the preservation and access of website archives transferred to us as file directories.  

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