20 Facts for 20 Years!

On this day in 1994, the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Carolina’s students, staff, and faculty pass the Cemetery on a regular basis.  It is as much a part of the campus … Continue reading

On this day in 1994, the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Carolina’s students, staff, and faculty pass the Cemetery on a regular basis.  It is as much a part of the campus as the Arboretum or the Bell Tower.  In honor of the 20th anniversary of its addition to the National Register of Historic Places, we’ve made a list of 20 facts about the Cemetery.  How many did you already know?

The Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on UNC Chapel Hill's campus.

The Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus.

  1. The original 125 acres was sold to the College in October of 1776 for 5 shillings. That would be $40.65 today!
  2. The first recorded burial was George Clarke.  George was a student from Burke County, NC.  He died September 28, 1798.  He was also a member of the Philanthropic Society.  Although he was the first buried, his stone was not placed until the mid-nineteenth century.
  3. The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies were the first to buy plots in the Cemetery.  When students passed away and their homes were too far away for quick transport, the respective society would bury the student in their plot. In fact, the Di and Phi Societies were as competitive in burying their members as they were in everything else before they became a united organization. The societies were constantly trying to one-up each other with the erection of monuments in their cemetery plots.  The Phi Society once commissioned an eight-foot high Italian Marble monument for a deceased member.
  4. In 1835, it was officially named the College Graveyard.  This did not stop Chapel Hill residents from calling it the “Village Cemetery” though.  It was renamed upon the completion of a low wall encompassing the entirety of the property.
  5. All cemetery plots have already been purchased.  The Cemetery isn’t entirely full yet, but plots are off the market!

    UNC Chapel Hill recognizes the segregated section of the historic cemetery.

    UNC Chapel Hill recognizes the segregated section of the historic cemetery.

  6. Two sections of the Cemetery were reserved for African Americans and segregated from the other four by a low rock wall. The section was established because there were no black church cemeteries in Chapel Hill. Many of those buried in sections A and B were university laborers and servants who were often slaves or former slaves. The earliest (marked) grave in this part of the cemetery belongs to Ellington Burnett (1831-1853).
  7. Confederate soldiers were buried in the Cemetery during the Civil War. Their stones are marked with “C.S.A.”
  8. Like most cemeteries, Chapel Hill’s has had a problem with vandalism. It’s unclear whether or not vandalism has been intentional or accidental.  For example, in 1974, 40 to 50 monuments were broken and pushed off their bases.  However, in 1985, stones were damaged by football fans eager to get to their seats. 
  9. In 1922, the town of Chapel Hill took over responsibility for maintaining the Cemetery.  However, in 1988, ownership was transferred to the University.
  10. The oldest monument in the Cemetery belongs to the grave of Margaritta Chapman, who died in 1814 at the age of 16.  Although George Clarke was the first buried, his monument was not erected immediately upon his death.
  11. Charles Kuralt is buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. Before he launched his successful journalism career, Kuralt spent so much time working on the The Daily Tar Heel in his senior year that he ended up failing all of his other classes!  Since many of the plots had already been purchased, Charles Kuralt would not have been buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery had the Pickard Family not relinquished a plot.
  12. The Cemetery holds the graves of more than 800 African Americans. Many of the graves are unmarked. The segregated section of the Cemetery has since been recognized with a sign post remembering those buried there. While many of the graves are still unmarked, the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill did conduct a survey of the segregated area in 2009.

    Wilson Caldwell.  From the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

    Wilson Caldwell. From the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

  13. Wilson Caldwell is buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. Born a slave in 1841 to University President David Swain, Wilson was a much recognized member of the Carolina community during his lifetime.  When enslaved, Caldwell became the head janitor to the University.  After Emancipation, Caldwell stayed in the Chapel Hill area and established a school for African Americans in 1868.  He was also elected to the Board of Commissioners of Chapel Hill, bought 12 acres of land, and served as a justice of the peace.  In 1884, however, he returned to work for the University and maintained his position as the head of the campus workforce until his death in 1898.  Get more information on Wilson Caldwell here.
  14. Cars used to park on unmarked graves before football games until restrictions were implemented in 1991. We know parking is tight here, but thank goodness we’re showing a little more respect now!
  15. Several of the monuments in the Di-Phi plots were by the famous 19th Century stone carver George Lauder. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Lauder lived in Raleigh and Fayetteville, NC.  He actually owned the largest gravestone factory in North Carolina in the 1800s!
  16. University trustees almost created a second cemetery in McCorkle Place! When the body of Dr. Joseph Caldwell was moved from the “College Graveyard” to its spot under the monument in McCorkle Place in 1846, the trustees briefly considered creating a new cemetery.  The idea never came to fruition though.
  17. Jane Tenney Gilbert (1896-1980) has the gravestone with the most school spirit. Ever.  Her epitaph reads: “I was a Tar Heel born and a Tar Heel bred/and here I lie a Tar Heel dead./BORN JAN. 1896 AND STILL HERE 1980.”
  18. There is a large sandstone obelisk in Section B, dedicated to the black servants of the University.  The obelisk is the original Joseph Caldwell monument from McCorkle Place, which was replaced in the late 19th century by a granite obelisk. It was rededicated in memory of Wilson Caldwell, his father November Caldwell and David Barham and Henry Smith, two other black university servants. Note that even though these men and women were “servants” to the University, some of them were enslaved by families in the area and loaned to the school.
  19. Five 19th century headstones were tipped over and smashed the day before Charles Kuralt was buried in the cemetery. We’re not sure if the vandalism was in anticipation of Charles Kuralt’s burial or if the timing was incidental.  We can’t imagine anyone having THAT much of a problem with Charles Kuralt!
  20. If you are so inclined, you can have your ashes scattered near the cemetery!  Memorial grove was created as the solution to the limited space of the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.  It is UNC’s garden for the scattering and interment of ashes.  The garden is reserved for use by individuals with a university affiliation, and for immediate family members of those individuals. Because of the nature of a scattering garden, the space can accommodate an unlimited number of individuals, allowing anyone who wishes to maintain an eternal connection to the university to do so.
Jane Tenney Gilbert's spirited epitaph.

Jane Tenney Gilbert’s spirited epitaph.

Now you know!

Memorial Day

While Memorial Day might traditionally mark the beginning of the Summer Season for vacationers, it is also an important day of remembrance for the United States.  Every year, we remember everyone who has died in the service of our country. … Continue reading

College for War Training brochure, 1942.  From the Records of the Vice President for Finance, #40011, University Archives.

College for War Training brochure, 1942. From the Records of the Vice President for Finance, #40011, University Archives.

While Memorial Day might traditionally mark the beginning of the Summer Season for vacationers, it is also an important day of remembrance for the United States.  Every year, we remember everyone who has died in the service of our country.

Order of Gimghoul, 1944.  From the Records of the Order of Gimghoul, #40262, University Archives.

Order of Gimghoul, 1944. From the Records of the Order of Gimghoul, #40262, University Archives.

Established in the wake of the Civil War, Memorial Day was set aside as a day of remembrance for both Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the conflict. However, as time went on, Memorial Day was extended in order to honor all Americans who had died in armed conflicts since the Civil War.

We are proud of all of Carolina’s students and their family members who gave their lives in service to their country.

Do you remember anyone special on Memorial Day?  

Swim to Graduate

We’re so proud of everyone who graduated yesterday! Congratulations! But did you know that up until 2006, all undergraduates were required to pass a swim test in order to graduate? Well, the swim test was not unique to Carolina. It … Continue reading

"Intramural: swimming, group of ten," 5 October 1961.  From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031.

“Intramural: swimming, group of ten,” 5 October 1961. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031.

We’re so proud of everyone who graduated yesterday! Congratulations! But did you know that up until 2006, all undergraduates were required to pass a swim test in order to graduate? Well, the swim test was not unique to Carolina. It used to be a requirement at many colleges and universities across the country. But where did the requirement come from exactly?

The legend at UNC, and many other campuses, starts with the death of a student by drowning. The student’s family decided to give a large endowment to the University after the incident but with the condition that all students know how to swim. This theory is nothing more than a myth though since many colleges and universities established swim tests during WWII when campuses became designated training programs.

In 1942, UNC was designated as a pre-flight training program by the US government, and the university was awarded funds to construct several structures on campus including the ROTC building, the outdoor pool, and the indoor track.  Of course, the midshipmen who were a part of the pre-flight training program had to learn to swim. During and after the war, national debates and discussions centered on whether America’s youth were fit enough to defend our country. So a compulsory swim test was implemented at UNC for men in 1944 and women in 1946.

The swim test remained unchanged until the 1970s when it was altered so that undergraduates had to swim 50 yds and tread water for 5 minutes. The test remained in place through the spring of 2006 when it was officially ended as a requirement for the fall semester.

"Swimming Physical Education," 31 October 1960. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031

“Swimming Physical Education,” 31 October 1960. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031

Did you have to take the swim test?  We’d love to hear about your experience! 

SOHP Interns’ Performance

On Wednesday, April 30 at 3:00 pm on the front porch of the Love House and Hutchins Forum, four undergraduate interns with the Southern Oral History Program will share a live performance based on their collected oral histories from this spring … Continue reading

On Wednesday, April 30 at 3:00 pm on the front porch of the Love House and Hutchins Forum, four undergraduate interns with the Southern Oral History Program will share a live performance based on their collected oral histories from this spring semester. Their project focused on gay and lesbian student activism and life at UNC-Chapel Hill from the 1970s onward, and their interviewees shared many remarkable stories.

The announcement ran in the Daily Tar Heel on 10 September 1974.

The announcement ran in the Daily Tar Heel on 10 September 1974.

The interns conducted research in the University Archives while preparing for their oral histories.  We’re excited to see them share the stories of Carolina students and staff!  

A Sudden Ending and a New Beginning: The Assasination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Birth of UNC’s Black Student Movement

On April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  As the nation reeled in shock, UNC-Chapel Hill also reacted to the vicious ending of a life dedicated to the … Continue reading

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, AL on April 30th, 1966.  From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, AL on April 30th, 1966. From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

On April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  As the nation reeled in shock, UNC-Chapel Hill also reacted to the vicious ending of a life dedicated to the non-violent pursuit of Civil Rights.

UNC-Chapel Hill officials held a memorial service attended by over 2,000 people, but the Black Student Movement (BSM) staged its own remembrances of Dr. King. On April 6th, members of the BSM marched down Franklin Street and burned several Confederate flags on the lawn of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity house.  At the time, Kappa Alpha was supportive of the Old South and the Confederacy.

In addition to holding a separate memorial service for Dr. King, the BSM also called on the campus’ African American workers to not attend work on April 9th.  Although Chancellor Sitterson had announced a half-day for campus workers on April 7th, Preston Dobbins (the president of the BSM) encouraged the day of remembrance because he felt that the University had not responded to Dr. King’s assassination with the appropriate amount of respect. Ninety percent of the African American workers on campus stayed home from work that day.

The Constitution of the Black Student Movement from folder 25, box 3, of the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Constitution of the Black Student Movement from folder 25, box 3, of the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The BSM may be most remembered for the 23 demands of December 1968, but the students’ collaboration with the campus workers in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination was an important first step in the relationship between the two groups. Over the years, students of the BSM have supported UNC-Chapel Hill’s non-academic workers such as groundskeepers, food workers, and housekeepers.

Today, we at University Archives remember the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the birth of the Black Student Movement on our campus.  Although the group began in such dark times, we commend them for forging relationships on our campus and moving forward.

Visit The Carolina Story, UNC’s virtual history museum, for more information on the Black Student Movement.

December 18th: A Mandate from the State, and the Chartering of UNC

December 18th is an important day in both United States and North Carolina history. Several important historical events have happened on this day. For example, the Mayflower docked at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 18th, 1620. But at University Archives, December … Continue reading

UNC Chapel Hill's historic marker which proclaims its status as the first state university.

The historic marker that proclaims UNC’s status as the first state university.

December 18th is an important day in both United States and North Carolina history. Several important historical events have happened on this day.

For example, the Mayflower docked at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 18th, 1620.

But at University Archives, December 18th is important for two different reasons. One, the mandate for a state-run university in North Carolina, and two, the chartering of the University of North Carolina.

After the Declaration of Independence was signed, North Carolina ratified its first constitution, the Constitution of 1776, on December 18th, 1776. It was in this document that the provincial congress first called for a state-run university.

Article 41 of the Constitution of 1776 set forth the following mandate:

“…that a school or schools shall be established by the legislature, for the convenient instruction of youth, with such salaries to the masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct at low prices; and, all usefull [sic] learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more universities.”

However it was not until 1789 that the University of North Carolina was chartered.

The minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees from from Volume 1 of the Board of Trustees Records (40001)

The minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees from from Volume 1 of the Board of Trustees Records (#40001). Click to view a larger version of this image.

On December 18th of that year, the Board of Trustees convened for the first time in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It was at that meeting that William Richardson Davie informed the trustees that Colonel Benjamin Smith had donated 20,000 acres of land in what would become Tennessee to the University. The trustees sold the land and used the resulting funds to support the fledgling institution in its early years. Later, the Trustees chose to honor Colonel Smith by naming a campus building after him– Smith Hall, which was completed in 1851. Smith Hall is now known as the Playmakers Theater.

While the landing of the Mayflower is a very important moment in United States history, the chartering of the nation’s first public university to open its doors is important, too.

Today we celebrate the University of North Carolina, which has been serving the state for 218 years. But our University would be nothing without the students, faculty, and staff who learn, teach, and work here. Thank you all, and happy December 18th!

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Today, University Archives joins the world in remembering  Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away yesterday, December 5th. An anti-apartheid activist and the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela famously spent 27 years in prison for the charge of … Continue reading

This picture was taken on 12 February 1990, the day after Mandela's official release from prison. Folder 18, Box 2, the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library.

This picture was taken on 12 February 1990, the day after Mandela’s official release from prison. Folder 18, Box 2, the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library.

Today, University Archives joins the world in remembering  Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away yesterday, December 5th.

An anti-apartheid activist and the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela famously spent 27 years in prison for the charge of inciting workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission. Mandela served as the president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 after his unconditional release from prison on 11 February 1990.

 

 

 

A shanty during the 1986 protest. From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400.

A shanty during the 1986 protest. From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400.

Nelson Mandela and the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa were an inspiration to Carolina students in the 1980s. From 1985 to 1987, the student-run Anti-Apartheid Support Group called for divestiture of all UNC-CH holdings in companies operating in South Africa. The protests peaked in March and April of 1986 when student members erected a shanty-town in Polk Place in front of South Building. When the Endowment Board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted to divest all of its holdings in companies operating in South Africa in October 1987, the group disbanded.

Check out coverage of the protests in Black Ink, the newspaper of the Black Student Movement.

Bill Friday: In His Own Words

This past weekend saw the opening of Wilson Library’s newest exhibit — “Bill Friday: In His Own Words.” President Friday was a central figure in the University as well as an influential leader at the state and national levels. Come on … Continue reading

This past weekend saw the opening of Wilson Library’s newest exhibit — “Bill Friday: In His Own Words.” President Friday was a central figure in the University as well as an influential leader at the state and national levels. Come on by and learn more about the man who led Carolina through integration, consolidation, sports scandals, and much more.

Bill Friday with students in 1978.

Bill Friday with students in July of 1978. From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection, #P0031 in the North Carolina Photograph Collection.

See the online portion of this exhibit at https://billfriday.web.unc.edu/. The physical portion is open in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room, 3rd floor, Wilson Library.

The New Indentured Class

In 1982, UNC System President Bill Friday wrote suggestions to give before the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.  His suggestions were a response to President Reagan’s proposals to cut student financial aid. One of President Friday’s counterpoints to the proposed … Continue reading

President Bill Friday, 28 July 1977, From the NCC Photographic Archives. Black and White 120 Roll Film, 37875.

President Bill Friday, 28 July 1977, From the NCC Photographic Archives. Black and White 120 Roll Film, 37875.

In 1982, UNC System President Bill Friday wrote suggestions to give before the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.  His suggestions were a response to President Reagan’s proposals to cut student financial aid. One of President Friday’s counterpoints to the proposed budget cuts follows.

“Transferring an increasing level of the cost of education from society to the current user of education services will create a new indentured class of individuals who may have borrowed more heavily for their education than their future earning power can accommodate.” 

President Friday's defense of his address to the subcommittee. From folder 1846, Box 50 of the Records of the Office of the President: William Friday, Collection 40009.

President Friday’s defense of his address to the subcommittee. From folder 1846, Box 50 of the Records of the Office of the President: William Friday, Collection 40009.

 

For many students, President Friday’s prediction of an indentured servitude may be becoming a reality. The Condition of Education 2013 was recently released by the Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics.  According to this report: “In 2010–11, the average student loan amount, in constant 2011–12 dollars, was $6,800, which was a 39 percent increase from 2000–01, when the average student loan amount was $4,900. Of the 4.1 million students who entered the repayment phase on their student loans in fiscal year (FY) 2010, some 375,000, or 9 percent, had defaulted before FY 2011.”  See the full report here.

What are your thoughts on student loans, student debt, and financial aid?

An exhibit on President Friday, “Bill Friday: In His Own Words,” will go on display in the Wilson Library on October 8th. The exhibit celebrates President Friday’s life of impact on the University, the State, and the Nation. You can also view an online exhibit The Legacy of William C. Friday in The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History.

Gender Neutral Housing Shot Down

This morning, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors unanimously voted to reject gender neutral housing on the system’s sixteen campus. In light of our latest blog post on the gender and sexuality dialogue on our campus, this decision comes as … Continue reading

"School of Nursing: Relaxing in dorm," circa 1954. From Black and White Film Box 30, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection, P0031.

“School of Nursing: Relaxing in dorm,” circa 1954. From Black and White Film Box 30, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection, P0031.

"Dorm Life," 1999. News Services, Collection #40139.

“Dorm Life,” 1999. News Services, Collection #40139.

This morning, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors unanimously voted to reject gender neutral housing on the system’s sixteen campus. In light of our latest blog post on the gender and sexuality dialogue on our campus, this decision comes as an interesting development. See an article on the vote from WRAL here.

One argument against the move to institute gender neutral housing is that it is a “social experiment” and thus an inappropriate use of university funds. The arguments in favor of gender neutral housing focus around the desire to appropriately accommodate transgender students and others who may feel uncomfortable or who are bullied in traditional dorm environments because of their sexuality.

As you can see from the pictures to the right, dorm life within the university has changed over the years. What are your thoughts on the Board of Governors’ ban on gender neutral housing?