“An Infernal Passion Undying”

If you read the Daily Tar Heel, you’ve likely read Ian Williams’ iconic column “Why I Hate Duke.” The Daily Tar Heel usually highlights the piece before our first basketball game of the year against Duke. The article is essentially the Carolina student’s guide to hating that dark, blue school to the North both on and off the basketball court. In his article, Williams states that he hates Duke with an “infernal passion undying.” Many of us feel that way in light of our recent loss, but just how long has the Carolina community loved to loathe our adversary?

The answer is long before that archenemy was actually named Duke University!

Written to be sung to the tune of Little Marie, this song was from William Starr Myers book that documented much of his poetry and writing from his time at UNC. From folder 15, Box 2 of the William Starr Myers Papers, collection #03260, in the Southern Historical   Collection, the Wilson Library.

Written to be sung to the tune of “Sweet Marie,” this song can be found in William Starr Myers’s notebook documenting much of his writing during his time at UNC. (Folder 15, Box 2, of the William Starr Myers Papers, #03260, Southern Historical Collection.)

That’s right.  UNC has the distinction of hating Duke before they became a full-fledged university and was simply known as Trinity College.  Let that sink in for a minute.

For the football game against Trinity College on the 24th of October 1894, William Starr Myers (an editor for The Tar Heel, the forerunner of The Daily Tar Heel) wrote several poems to commemorate the day. One of his songs began:

“I’ve a secret to impart Trinity/We’re going to break your heart Trinity;/And you’ll think that Judgment Day,/Is’nt [sic] very far away, when the Referee calls ‘Play’ Trinity./You will see Trinity, Trinity how it will be/That your faces fearful sights are to see/Every star that studs the sky/Then will wink the other eye, and bid you/’Go & die,’ Trinity.”

A float from the 1951 Beat Dook parade showing a Tar Heel Ram eating a bowl of Duke cereal for breakfast. P0033/0040, the Roland Giduz Photograph Collection, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library

A float from the 1951 Beat Dook parade showing a Tar Heel Ram eating a bowl of Duke cereal for breakfast. (P0033/0040, the Roland Giduz Photograph Collection, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.)

The rivalry with Duke has  a long history, which has taken various forms over the years. For instance, between 1950 and 1965 there was an annual “Beat Dook” Parade held on Franklin Street near the end of November.

As we anxiously await the rematch on March 9, I think it’s safe to say that yes…our Carolina community truly does hate Duke with “an infernal passion undying.” And many of us wouldn’t have it any other way.

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