At the Town Hall meeting about race and inclusion held at Memorial Hall last night, students from The Real Silent Sam and other activists presented a series of demands to university administrators. The demands referenced a similar document from the Black Student Movement in 1968.
On December 11, 1968, representatives of the Black Student Movement presented a list of 23 demands to Chancellor Carlyle Sitterson and other campus administrators. The demands included changes in admissions and financial aid policies, the establishment of a department of African and Afro-American studies, administrative support for black students, and a commitment to address the low wages and inadequate living conditions of African American employees and the local black community.
Chancellor Sitterson responded the following month with a 19-page, point-by-point reaction to the demands. He wrote of a desire to promote “free and frank discussion” on campus. Sitterson’s responses addressed specific issues in the demands, often pointing out that the changes requested were either partially underway, needed further elaboration, or fell outside the responsibilities of the Chancellor’s office.
People interested in learning more about the 1968 demands and the ongoing discussions they provoked can find good coverage in the Daily Tar Heel. The Chancellor’s response and the reactions of some alumni are documented in the Sitterson papers in the University Archives. The role of the Black Student Movement is documented in Black Ink, which began publication in late 1969, and the records of the Black Student Movement in University Archives.
Visit Wilson Library, or contact us for resources and suggestions for researching UNC history.
Daily Tar Heel, 12 December 1968.
The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History: Exhibit on The Black Student Movement at Carolina.
Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Joseph Carlyle Sitterson Records, 1966-1972 (collection number 40022), University Archives.
Black Student Movement Records (collection number 40400), University Archives.