Update: The Curious Case of the Cuban Club

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Cuban Club, a short-lived club for Cuban students at UNC in the early 20th century. This week, I came across a letter written just months after the Spanish-American War in which Major General Joseph Wheeler, president of the Cuban Educational Association, tells UNC President Edwin Alderman that he “note[s] with pleasure that you state that the University of North Carolina would easily give scholarships, remitting all tuition to several [Cuban students].”

The Cuban Educational Association operated from 1898 to 1901 and partnered with colleges across the United States to send Cuban and Puerto Rican college-age students to school in the United States. Universities and colleges offered one to two students a full scholarship to cover books, tuition and fees. The students and their families had to cover the cost of living, usually $200 – $300 annually. Therefore, most of the students coming to the United States were from the middle and upper classes. The scholarship mandated that the students return home after graduation.

Over the four years it was in operation, the Cuban Educational Association and its over 50 partner institutions helped to send over 2,500 students to school in the United States. When these students returned home, most became teachers, doctors and lawyers in their communities.

This letter was written 10 years before the Cuban Club appeared in the Yackety Yack, but it suggests that the influx of students from Cuba in the early 20th century may have been related to work begun by the Cuban Educational Association.

Letter to Dr. Alderman from Joshua (from the University Papers, #40005, University Archives).

Original Post: The Curious Case of the Cuban Club

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New Research Guide on the UNC Confederate Monument (Silent Sam)

A Guide to Resources About UNC's Confederate Monument

A Guide to Resources About UNC’s Confederate Monumen

The Confederate Monument on the UNC campus, known commonly as Silent Sam, has stood on McCorkle Place for more than 100 years. For at least the past half-century, it has been a source of controversy. In response to continued interest about the origins, purpose, and reactions to Silent Sam, the University Archives has prepared a detailed guide to assist researchers seeking archival materials related to the monument.

The largest section of the guide is the Archival Resources section. In this section, we provide links to hundreds of digitized documents related to the planning, construction, and dedication of the monument. The guide also includes links to related archival and manuscript collections available for use in Wilson Library.

In addition to the list of resources, the website contains a timeline of major events related to Silent Sam, from the first mention of an on-campus monument in 1908 to student protests in 2015.

The necessity and meaning of the Confederate Monument at UNC has been debated at least since 1965. For as long as it remains in its prominent location on campus, it is likely to continue being a source of discussion among students and community members. Our intention in building this website is to help inform these discussions by making it easier than ever to find, read, and reference primary sources from the University Archives.

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New in the Archives: Research and Biography on Edwin Greenlaw

Edwin Greenlaw, ca. 1920s. From the Portrait Collection (P2), NCC Photo Archives.

Edwin Greenlaw, ca. 1920s. From the Portrait Collection (P2), NCC Photo Archives.

A new collection containing correspondence, research, and writings about legendary UNC English professor Edwin Greenlaw is now available in the University Archives.

Greenlaw came to UNC in 1913 during a period of significant expansion and intellectual growth.  Although only here for a dozen years (Greenlaw accepted a job at Johns Hopkins in 1925), he led the English department through a period of rapid change, tripling the number of faculty members, starting a department of Comparative Literature, and helping to found the UNC Press. His legacy on campus is reflected in Greenlaw Hall, still home to the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Thomas Wolfe, UNC alumnus and author of Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again, took classes with Greenlaw and credited him as being a major influence on his development as a writer. A fictionalized version of Greenlaw appears in Wolfe’s novel The Web and the Rock.

The collection was compiled by Edwin Greenlaw’s brother Lowell Greenlaw. Lowell Greenlaw woked for years on a biography of his brother, drafts of which are included in the collection. The collection also includes extensive correspondence between Lowell Greenlaw and many of the people who knew and worked with his brother. These materials were carefully preserved by Carter Greenlaw Baker, Ailsie Baker McEnteggart, and Georgia Lowell Baker, the grandchildren of Lowell M. Greenlaw.  Shirley Greenlaw Baker, daughter of Lowell M. Greenlaw, had been the keeper and organizer of the collection until it was donated by her children to UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Lowell Greenlaw Papers on Edwin Greenlaw are a terrific resource for anyone who wants to learn more about this important and influential scholar and teacher and his role in building and shaping the English Department at UNC.


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“All Dances Will Be Suspended”: The Effect of Prohibition at UNC in 1925

While national prohibition was voted into law in 1919 with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, North Carolina had been dry since it passed a state-wide prohibition law in 1908. As the sale and consumption of alcohol in North Carolina had already been banned for twelve years when enforcement of the 18th Amendment began in 1920, prohibition had little direct effect on the University.

German Club Executive Committee, from the 1926 Yackety Yack, http://digitalnc.org

German Club Executive Committee in the 1926 Yackety Yack, from DigitalNC

However, a 1925 German Club dance held around Thanksgiving prompted a harsh response from President H.W. Chase. Despite its name, the German Club was not related to the nation of Germany or the German language. Rather, the club, organized in the late nineteenth century, planned formal dances and other social events for its members. A ‘German’ was a kind of social dancing that became popular following the Civil War.

The incident caused by this dance was investigated by Andrew Henry Patterson, a professor of physics and Dean of the School of Applied Sciences. In his report to President Chase, Patterson noted that the conditions for illegal drinking were perfect as there were, “hundreds of visitors brought here by the game, and many of them with liquor. The wonder is that more drinking was not done[….]” The game to which Patterson referred was the annual Thanksgiving Day game against the University of Virginia. According to Patterson, “no estimate on the part of anybody as to the number of men who had taken a drink would run over 20 or 25% of those present,” and that “no shadow of a rumor that any girls were drinking has been found, which is encouraging.”

Patterson to Chase

Report on German Club dance incident by A.H. Patterson, from  University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives

On the day this letter was sent to President Chase, December 4, 1925, he delivered an address to students in chapel discouraging the use of alcohol. Chase emphasized “the problem of the influence of drinking on the future business and social relations of the young men who make up the student bodies in our colleges today.” He went on to state “his opinion that drinking is now a thing for the vulgar and lower classes to indulge in” and that alcohol use was something “invariably leading to unmannerly and indecent conduct.”

This incident and its investigation prompted President Chase to suspend all dances at the University until the end of Easter holidays. This suspension also extended to “the giving of any dance by any University organization or student at any place outside the University campus.” When the suspension ended in April of 1926, the German Club adopted new bylaws that made its executive committee responsible to the University for the conduct at all dances, regardless of the clubs or groups hosting them. According to the Daily Tar Heel on April 15, 1926, these bylaws also imposed regulations on dances. These included no smoking on the dance floor, no girls leaving the dance hall without a chaperone, and strict end times for dances. Most dances were required to end by 1:00 AM, while Saturday night dances had to end by midnight. Some German Club dances were permitted to last until 2:00 AM. The German Club continued to organize dances and concerts until the late 1960s.

[President Chase’s letter to the German Club suspending all dances, from the University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives]

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The Curious Case of the Cuban Club

Yackety Yak, 1908

Yackety Yack 1908

In the 1908 Yackety Yack, among the pages for “county clubs” (clubs for students from the same county or high school in North Carolina) a new club appeared – the Cuban Club.

A club for Cuban students at the university, the Cuban Club was short lived (1908 to 1910) and represented a brief surge in the enrollment of Cuban students at the university. While the club never had more than 11 members, that was a significant number – the total enrollment of the University was then 778, with only 55 out-of-state students.

Most of the students from Cuba were studying engineering, medicine, and pharmacy and the last of the group graduated in 1911. Issues of the Daily Tar Heel from around the time suggest that in the years that followed the university had no more than one Cuban student enrolled each year. We aren’t sure what drew this group of Cuban students to UNC between 1908 and 1911, or why the enrollment of Cuban students dropped in the following years.

Yackety Yack 1909 and 1910

 Update (4/19/2016): See this post for additional information.

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Web-Walkers: Redesigning UNC’s Home Page in 1996

In 2013, UARMS published a blog post highlighting the web archiving project of the UNC Libraries. To demonstrate how much the web had changed over time, this post featured UNC’s web page circa 1997. To update the information provided in that post, the Internet Archive now boasts 469 billion web pages saved since 1996 compared to the 366 billion pages saved in 2013. UARMS still actively captures and archives websites, which can be accessed through the University Archives’ Archive-It page.We have recently uncovered more documents related to the creation of this early UNC web page.

[Black and white print outs of the 1996 UNC homepage prior to being redesigned, from the Academic Technology and Networks of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records (#40224), University Archives]

In 1996, a group of faculty, staff, and students known as the Web-Walkers set out to redesign UNC’s home page. As highlighted in our 2013 blog post, the most prominent visual featured on the new web page was an acrostic spelling CAROLINA that was used to organize the links to other relevant web pages.

UNC homepage in 1996 as redesigned by the Web Walker group. from the Academic Technology and Networks of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1951-2000s, #40224, University Archives

UNC homepage in 1996 as redesigned by the Web-Walkers group, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

This acrostic was divisive among the Web-Walkers, with numerous correspondences both supporting and critiquing its use. One group member wrote in feedback that he would, “strongly suggest dropping the whole spelling-out of CAROLINA with section headings. As an acronym for website subsections, it looks, well, ‘cute,’ but it just doesn’t lend itself to a sensible organization of information.”  This complaint was echoed by  a self-described “Librarian and frequent UNC home page user,” who wrote that “forcing the logical categories of text to fit the word ‘Carolina’ is awfully cute and artificial.”

The redesign also garnered praise, with another group member writing, “the new UNC screen looks really good–very clever use of Carolina, too…I’ll bet that took some brainstorming.” This compliment was not unique, as another message stated, “It was very creative for someone to match CAROLINA with appropriate categories.” The problem with the acrostic became more apparent as users searched for content that had previously been accessible with a single click, such as “Departments and Organizations,” which was now buried several pages deep under the “Research and Academics” link.

The inspiration for the new categories originated with the University of Chicago’s homepage, which the Web-Walkers group used as a model. These categories were agreed upon before the CAROLINA acrostic was created:

When the design team chose to make the first letter big, it didn’t look quite right and they wanted to make it spell something. To get CAROLINA all they had to do was change Academic and Research to Research and Academic, Student Information to Information for Students, and add an O — Office of the Chancellor.

In the same email explaining the origin of the acrostic, the UNC Campus-Wide Information Systems Manager, who oversaw the website redesign, predicted that “this new page won’t last much more than a year.” The webpage would not be redesigned again until 1999, three years later.

Another major issue that arose in designing the new website was the color scheme. While the final version features Carolina Blue text over a white background, there is copious feedback featuring complaints about blue text and black links. As one Web-Walker wrote,

I find the main page color scheme (text in blue, links in black) to be _very_ confusing… a lot of browsers default to black text with blue links, and particularly with the C-A-R-O-L-I-N-A structure here it is not immediately clear whether the user should click on the initial letter or on the rest of the word.

This advice was never taken and the first letter of each category was never made part of the link. A follow-up email by the same person states that after showing the page to friends, “NONE managed to click on the actual links without several false starts.” The use of Carolina Blue as the font color, while rich in school pride, also posed a user interface problem. As one member reported, “the contrast is not very good, and it is difficult to read…I hate to say it, but a royal blue (Duke?) is much easier on the eyes.”

Since the design discussed in this blog post debuted in August of 1996, the UNC homepage has undergone three major redesigns. The most recent redesign was implemented in July of 2010, bringing us the homepage that is now familiar to all Tar Heels. Click on the screenshots below to peruse each iteration of the site in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

UNC homepage, 9/12/1999

UNC homepage 9/12/1999, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

UNC homepage, 2/13/2008

UNC homepage 2/13/2008, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

UNC homepage, 7/14/2010

UNC homepage 7/14/2010, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

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Why We Don’t Collect Syllabi (And Tips on How to Find them Anyway)

The UNC University Archives does not collect syllabi or reading lists from each course taught at UNC-Chapel Hill. Because this question comes up pretty often, I wanted to share more information about our process for determining what to collect and talk about cases where we make exceptions.

Records Schedule
In deciding which official UNC records to collect, we are guided by the General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, which describes in detail the types of records created by the university and outlines rules stating which should be kept, and for how long. The records schedule was developed with the State Archives of North Carolina, which oversees official records statewide. Here’s what the schedule says about syllabi, in the section on curriculum and instruction records:

2.11 Syllabi and Outlines Records
Records (including reference copies) documenting each course taught by the unit. This series may include but is not limited to: draft and final copies of course syllabi and outlines, and related documentation and correspondence.

Disposition Instructions: Destroy in office when reference value ends.

This means, simply, that syllabi should be kept only for as long as they’re useful in the office. That’s clear enough, but it does pose a dilemma: part of our job is documenting the history of the university, and detailed information about what is taught in specific classes is important to understanding the evolving curriculum at UNC.

Finding Historic Syllabi from UNC
Syllabi, and materials related to the development of the academic curriculum at UNC, do show up in University Archives in administrative and departmental records, and also in faculty papers in the Archives and the Southern Historical Collection. A finding aid search reveals many collections with syllabi from UNC faculty and even more containing files on course offerings and curricula. Syllabi may also appear on websites that are collected as part of the UNC University Archives Web Archives.

Many UNC academic departments offer sample syllabi online, including some from previous years (we found examples from History, Biology, and Social Work).

Changes at UNC-Chapel Hill
In 2012, the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council approved a resolution requiring standard elements in each syllabus and requiring that these be maintained for at least four years. This decision was driven by a desire for increased accountability and transparency regarding courses offered at the university. There are not currently any plans to retain these syllabi beyond the four year period mentioned in the resolution, unless a department decides that the syllabi would still be useful to keep on file.

Nationwide Efforts to Collect Syllabi
There have been several projects aimed at collecting and analyzing information from college course reading lists nationwide. The largest current effort that I’m aware of is the Open Syllabus Project from Columbia University. Rather than presenting the content of individual syllabi, the website’s “Syllabus Explorer” aggregates assigned readings from submitted syllabi and enables users to view trends in texts used for college classes. The book appearing most frequently in the submitted syllabi is The Elements of Style, followed by Plato’s Republic and The Communist Manifesto.

The Open Syllabus project appears to have received many syllabi from UNC-Chapel Hill instructors. Elements of Style tops the list of most frequently assigned readings for UNC classes represented in the database, followed by SILS Dean Gary Marchionini’s book Information Seeking in Electronic Environments. This suggests that the library science courses are over-represented in the syllabi submitted from UNC. Either that or Marchionini’s work has crossed over into classic literature and is now being studied in English classes. We’d need more data to say for sure.

Syllabi and Intellectual Property
For this blog post, I’ve just focused on collection and preservation. There is a larger and more complicated debate around the issue of syllabi as intellectual property. This has played out most recently in Missouri where a legislative demand for transparency is countered with a desire among some faculty to protect their intellectual property. Any effort to collect and widely distribute the content of individual syllabi would have to address this issue.



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Naming Aycock Residence Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill

Following the recent decision remove Charles Brantley Aycock’s name from an auditorium at UNC-Greensboro, which followed similar moves last year at East Carolina and Duke, we took a look to see what we could find in University Archives related to the naming of Aycock Residence Hall at UNC.

It didn’t take long for somebody to suggest naming a building at UNC after Charles Brantley Aycock. Just a couple of weeks after the former governor died in 1912, the President of the newly-formed Aycock Memorial Association wrote to UNC President Francis Venable: “There is no educational memorial which could be more fitting than a building at the University.” [University Papers, 20 April 1912]

It would be another sixteen years before UNC named a building for Aycock. During a period of rapid expansion in the 1920s, the university completed four new dorms in 1924. Known for several years simply as “New Dorms,” they finally received names in 1928. The Board of Trustees reported on the names in the minutes from their June 11, 1928 meeting:

“Mr. [John Sprunt] Hill for the Building Committee recommended that the policy be adopted in naming teachers’ buildings for great teachers and dormitories for other distinguished citizens; further that the new class-room building be named ‘Bingham Hall’ and the four new dormitories for Chas. B. Aycock, John W. Graham, W.N. Everett and Dr. R.H. Lewis and that the new library be named ‘The University Library.’ On motion, the above recommendations were adopted.”

That’s about it. There was only a passing mention of the naming in the Daily Tar Heel and nothing that we could find in the University Papers, where most of the early correspondence of the president of the university is held. It is not that unusual that there is nothing in the administrative correspondence; then, as now, the Board of Trustees had the final say on building names at UNC.

Given the strong feelings about Aycock both at UNC and statewide, it’s a little surprising that it took so long to name a building in his honor. In 1904, President Venable wrote to Governor Aycock asking him to consider accepting an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UNC (Aycock initially refused, but would receive the honor a few years later). Venable wrote, “In the twenty-five years I have spent in the State, I know of no one who has so served her highest interests as you have, and the influence of your administration will be felt for a long time to come.”

Venable was hardly alone in his praise. After Aycock died in 1912, the UNC Board of Trustees passed a resolution in honor of Aycock’s work on education:

“The Board of Trustees desire to place on record their deep sense of loss in the death of Ex Governor Charles B. Aycock, who as a member of this Board and of the Executive committee rendered most efficient service and attested his love for the University. During his administration as Governor, the cause of education was greatly advanced in this state and at all times he was ready to give encouragement to those who were striving to uplift this cause in the South and ended his life with a plea for the education of the child. He gave his best efforts in service for others, and while we will miss his companionship and wise advice, his memory will remain to urge us to follow the example which he has left of striving to do good to those who most need the benefit of Education. To his widow and family we extend our sincere sympathy and request our President to communicate to them this tribute of respect and direct the same to be entered on our minutes.”

The views of the Board of Trustees at the time were shared by many white leaders around the state. Aycock did support public education, but ensured that substantially more support would go toward schools for white students. The Trustees would not have found this unusual; they were overseeing an institution that strictly prohibited African American students from attending and had only just begun experimenting with allowing women to enroll.

Neither the note from Venable or the Board of Trustees resolution mention Aycock’s prominent role during the Democratic Party’s 1898 white supremacy campaign, nor do they note his strong support for a constitutional amendment in 1900 that effectively disenfranchised nearly all African American voters in the state. The prevailing view of Aycock in the media at the time — it is often reflected in the Daily Tar Heel — was of a benevolent “education governor.” We did not find anything in the contemporary statements from UNC leaders reflecting on other aspects of Aycock’s legacy.

Our quick look into the archives did not, by any means, uncover everything related to Aycock and UNC. He had a long relationship with the university, first as a student, later as a prominent alumnus, and then a three-time member of the Board of Trustees. Students and researchers who wish to dig deeper can find a significant amount of correspondence to and from Aycock in the University Papers as well as in manuscript collections in the Southern Historical Collection.


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Training Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) at UNC

“Opportunities for Defense Training at Chapel Hill" brochure,” UNC Libraries, accessed February 23, 2016, http://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/items/show/2686.

“Opportunities for Defense Training at Chapel Hill” brochure,” UNC Libraries, accessed February 23, 2016, http://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/items/show/2686.

In March of 2015, the Army stated that women who had served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in World War II were not eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery. This was a  reversal of the 2002 decision that allowed them to be interred at Arlington with full military honors. The Senate and the House now have bills on the floor  to overturn the Army’s decision. This controversy has sparked a renewed interest in who the WASPs were and what they did during their service in World War II.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots were a group of over 1,000 women that ferried aircraft around the country, towed dummy aircraft during live artillery training, taught as flight instructors and tested new planes.  This freed up qualified male pilots for combat duty overseas. The program began in 1942 as two separate branches, which then merged under the WASP name in 1943. During their time, the WASPs flew every military aircraft available and were trained in everything the men did, except combat exercises. The very first female pilots in the program had to enter the program with at least 200 hours of flight time. That is where the story brings us to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

[CAA requirements for a Civilian Pilot Training Program, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives]

The UNC System was home to a Civilian Pilot Training Program. N. C. State was the first school in the system to host the program. Later, UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina A&T started their own versions of the program, along with Duke and other colleges around the state. Any student, male or female, was allowed to take the ground portion of the classes for college credit. These classes taught basic aviation theory as well as airplane maintenance. Ground classes were known as primary training. Women students took these classes and anticipated that they would be allowed to continue into flight training.

[Letter inquiring about allowing a female student into flight training, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives]

However, actual flight training, or secondary training, was limited to a quota imposed on the university by the Civilian Aviation Authority. The CAA provided most of the funding for flight training and was therefore able to dictate who could participate in secondary courses. The entire purpose of the Civilian Pilot Training Program was to feed the graduates directly into military service and women were not allowed to fly at all in a military capacity before the WASPs program. Therefore, women were only allowed into flight training when the total number of qualified male pilots was less than the quota allotted.

Memo explaining CAA quotas, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives

Memo explaining CAA quotas, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives

The UNC administration did all they could to prove that discrimination was not the reason female trainees had a difficult time getting into flight training, and celebrated the women who made it through both parts of the program. The first woman to complete the entire Civilian Pilot Training Program at UNC, including both ground and flight training, was Virginia Broome. She graduated from UNC in 1942 and became a WASP in 1943. As a ferry pilot she, ferried completed military aircraft from factories to the point of embarkation.  Only four women completed the entire course of training at UNC. Of these four, only Virginia Broome (later Virginia Broome Waterer)  became a WASP.

For more information about the University of North Carolina during World War II, see the online exhibit A Nursery for Patriotism: The University at War, 1861-1945.

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The 1939 Correspondence Between Pauli Murray and Frank Porter Graham

The Records of the Office of the President of the UNC System under Frank Porter Graham (1932-1949) include several folders labeled “Race and Ethnic Relations: Negroes.” These folders include clippings and correspondence providing a first-hand look at the actions of the university as it battled accusations of racism and fought to prevent African Americans from enrolling at UNC. Most of these folders have been digitized and are fully accessible through the online finding aid.

Included in the folder from 1939 is a remarkable series of letters between Pauli Murray and Frank Porter Graham. Murray, who was the descendant of both slaves and slaveowners, had grown up in Durham and was part of a family with deep ties to North Carolina. In 1938, she had recently graduated from Hunter College in New York and applied to enroll in the graduate school at UNC. Her application was ultimately rejected (UNC would not admit its first African American student until 1950), but her attempts drew national attention and brought a direct response from UNC system president Frank Porter Graham.

Pauli Murray to Frank Porter Graham, 17 January 1939, page one.

Pauli Murray to Frank Porter Graham, 17 January 1939, page one.

In Murray’s first letter, dated January 17, 1939 [page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ], she challenges the idea that she can obtain a “separate but equal” graduate education at one of the state’s historically black colleges. She writes that it is the excellent reputation of UNC, particularly the department of social science and faculty members Howard Odum and Guy Benton Johnson, that inspired her application. Murray’s letter is marked by her optimism. She argues that any hesitation among the students about admitting African Americans should be answered by “frank, open discussion” and a “give-and-take process where prejudices are openly aired and accounted for, where correct interpretations are made and where enlightenment is gained in an atmosphere of mutual co-operation and respect.”

Graham does not reply until February 3 [page 1 | 2 ], saying that all of his time has been taken up with lobbying the state legislature to avoid serious cuts to the UNC budget. In his response, Graham goes over the reasons for the university’s rejection of Murray’s application, noting the “provision in the Constitution of North Carolina requiring the separation of the races in public education.” He also warns Murray against forcing a “popular referendum on the race issue,” saying that the results would “cause a throwback to a darker time.” He advocates gradual progress, starting with improving conditions for the historically black colleges.

Graham to Murray, 3 February 1939.

Graham to Murray, 3 February 1939.

Graham closes with a surprisingly honest description of the challenges he faces, which reads like a weary acknowledgement of his inability to help: “As you may know, I am under very bitter attack in some parts of North Carolina and the lower south for what little I have tried to do in behalf of the Negro people, organized and unorganized workers and other underprivileged groups. I realize I am also under attack because I understand the limitations under which we must work in order to make the next possible advance.”

Murray responded quickly, in a short but powerful letter on February 6. She says simply that “the Constitution of North Carolina is inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States and should be changed to meet the ideals set forth by the first citizens of our country.”

Murray to Graham, 6 February 1939.

Murray to Graham, 6 February 1939.

She then explains that she can not and will not wait for gradual progress, using language that could serve as a rallying cry to the generations of activists who followed her: “We of the younger generation cannot compromise with our ideals of human equality. We have seen the consequences of such compromises in the bloody pages of human history, and we must hold fast, using all of our passion and our reason.”

The full story of Murray’s attempts to enroll at UNC is told in Chapter 11 of her autobiography, Song in a Weary Throat: An American Pilgrimage  and in the article “Admitting Pauli Murray” by Glenda Gilmore (Journal of Women’s History 14.2, 2002, pp. 62-67). Murray discussed her struggle with UNC in an interview she did with the Southern Oral History Program in 1976.



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