Artifacts of the Month: WUNC-TV Jacket and Banner

If you’ve turned on a TV in North Carolina, you are probably familiar with our state’s public television station, UNC-TV.  The network’s original station – WUNC-TV, Channel 4 in Chapel Hill – signed on the air January 8, 1955.  Initially operating on three different campuses (Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Greensboro), the station would continue to expand in geographical reach and content development.

For more than 60 years, WUNC-TV has brought arts, culture, history, and science programming into the homes of North Carolinians.  The NC Collection Gallery is pleased to add two new artifacts documenting the station’s past:  a late-1950s WUNC-TV jacket and an original Channel 4 banner.

1950s WUNC-TV jacket
1950s WUNC-TV jacket
Channel 4 banner
Late 1960s Channel 4 banner

The first WUNC-TV broadcast in 1955, and its staple content for years, was college basketball.  These early games were shown on television, but people would watch while listening to the radio for the commentary.  By the 1960s, WUNC-TV was covering the ACC Basketball Game of the Week.  The station converted a Trailways bus donated from the Town of Chapel Hill into a mobile remote unit, making it possible to cover events outside the studio.

Charlie B. Huntley from Greensboro, NC (UNC class of 1971) entered UNC in 1967 and was recruited that same year to join the Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures (later incorporated into the UNC School of Journalism).  Having been inspired by watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1963, Huntley jumped at the opportunity to become a cameraman with WUNC-TV.  Huntley divided his time between the studio, his house on East Rosemary Street (shared with other members of the WUNC-TV Channel 4 student news team), and being on the road with a WUNC-TV camera.

Channel 4 student employees, ca. 1970
The core group of the Channel 4 team and Rosemary Street roommates, Sam Brooks, HB Hough, Bill Hatch and Charlie Huntley, ca.1970
Huntley shooting on location
Huntley shooting on location

Huntley remembers traveling an untold number of miles on that Trailways bus all over North Carolina.  Just to make sure their presence was known, the team would attach a large green banner with the Channel 4 logo to the side of the bus.  The banner was sometimes used as a backdrop during satellite broadcasts.

While working in the WUNC-TV studio then located in Swain Hall, Huntley found an early WUNC-TV jacket in a janitor’s closet and felt a connection to his predecessors.  The rayon bomber jacket was made in Greensboro and was worn by early WUNC-TV staff while on-location filming around the state.

Huntley holding Emmy Award
Charlie Huntley in 1992 with his Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or Special for his work on Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park

As Huntley’s time at UNC began to come to an end, he decided to keep the banner that was no longer being used by the station, as well as the jacket that was worn years before he even thought of coming to UNC.  His experience as a student staff member at WUNC led to a long and successful career as a professional cameraman in New York, with 134 film and tv credits, 54 Emmy nominations, and 4 Emmy wins.  Huntley speaks of his time at UNC and WUNC-TV with affection, referring to his friends and colleagues as “family” and appreciating that he was a part of “a wonderful combination of friendship, passion, and talent.”

The Gallery is proud to add these artifacts into our permanent collection to help interpret and preserve the history of WUNC-TV.

Channel 4 alumni
Channel 4 alumni

So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 26

1. True or false: At the time of George Washington’s inauguration in 1789, North Carolina had yet to ratify the Constitution.

2. A panel of journalists and historians assembled by the Associated Press ranked what three events as the top stories of 20th century North Carolina?

3. In what sport does Whoopdedoo represent North Carolina’s greatest challenge?

4. What Hollywood actress traces her father’s side of the family to the Lumbee Indians?

5. Why does Wilmington remember Dec. 15, 1955, as “Black Thursday”?





1. True. (Nor had Rhode Island.)

2. The Wright Brothers’ flight in 1903, the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in in 1960 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

3. Skiing. It’s the steepest slope at Sugar Mountain.

4. Heather Locklear. (In Robeson County, Locklears outnumber Smiths more than two-to-one. More than 40 percent of Locklears in the United States live in North Carolina.)

5. That was the day the Atlantic Coast Line railroad announced it would move its headquarters to an undetermined but more central location. The new site turned out to be Jacksonville, Fla., and the move was made in 1960.


New in the collection: 1936 GOP convention photo

Wire service photo from 1936 convention with someone holding sign that reads "North Carolina, Off the Rocks with Landon and Knox"
Wire photo of Junius H. Harden, delegate from Graham in Alamance County, at the 1936 Republican National Convention.


Hats off to the enthusiastic sign maker, but the 1936 Republican presidential ticket foundered both nationally and in North Carolina. Alf Landon, Kansas governor, and Frank Knox, Chicago newspaper publisher, won only Maine and Vermont against incumbents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner.

In 1928 Harden, co-founder of Alamance County’s short-lived streetcar system (Piedmont Railway & Electric, 1912-1922), had come close to ousting nine-term Democratic Congressman Charles Manly Stedman. [Thanks to Melissa Nasea, history collections librarian at ECU, for pointing out that I was a century off about Piedmont Railway & Electric. It’s now corrected.]

“Scratch” the Surface & Find the Not-Too-Distant Past!

As renovations on the brick walkways in the “The Pit” and surrounding areas (Lenoir Hall, Davis Library, Graham Student Union, and Student Stores) continue through the summer, ground is regularly being uncovered that has literally “not seen the light of day” for numerous decades.  During my 10 years as the Photographic Materials Processing Archivist for Wilson Library Special Collections,  I have had the privilege of being able to work with thousands of images (drawings, sketches, photographs, etc…) depicting the University campus as it has grown and changed over the years.  Often, as I walk around campus, I find myself thinking of how areas looked before other building were added to the landscape of campus.  I do this so that when I see historical images, I can sort of  “deconstruct” to what campus looked like at the time an image was made,  and more quickly orient myself to what I am looking at.

On the morning of June 20, on my way in to the office,  I walked from the bus stop on South Road at the Student Stores up the brick stairs between the Student Store and the Frank Porter Graham Student Union Buildings….

View of the brick stairs today at Frank Porter Graham Student Union.  Image by Patrick Cullom  

As I reached the top of the steps, I noticed some stone work that had recently been uncovered directly in front of the Graham Student Union Building…

View of construction outside of Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building Image by Patrick Cullom 2018
View of construction outside of Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building Image by Patrick Cullom 2018

This stonework looked familiar to me…where had I seen it before? Then it hit me; this must be what is left of the staircase that existed before the 1999-2004 renovations to the Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building.  I honestly could not recall (from my own memories of campus) what this area looked like before the renovations and additions began in 1999.

(Good thing we just happen to have SOME images of the campus from days past in the Wilson Special Collections Library)

View of the “original” brick stairs (on left) at Frank Porter Graham Student Union, soon after construction, circa 1970 (Image taken from the bell tower looking north across South Road) Image from: UNC at Chapel Hill Image Collection Collection #P0004, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives Folder 0306: Graham Student Union (Frank Porter Graham), 1970-1979


View of the “original” brick stairs (on left) at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union, circa 1990s                                            (Parking lot expanded and Davis Library visible in background)    Image from UNC Facilities Services Engineering Information Services Website

View of demolition of “original” brick stairs at Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building, circa 1999-2000 Image from News Services of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40139, University Archives Digital Folder DF-40139/0169


When I walked by the next day, the stonework was gone and the whole section had been dug out. It was a brief look into the past, now covered up again, as the campus continues to grow to fit the needs of its students. Now we are back to the image that started this post.

View of the brick stairs as they appear today at Frank Porter Graham Student Union.  Image by Patrick Cullom 2018

When Garveyites challenged injustice in Nash County

“Blacks in the Tar Heel State were at the heart of [Marcus Garvey‘s Universal Negro Improvement Association]. During the 1920 UNIA Convention in New York, a minister from Nash County gave a report about the ‘injustices and other troubles of our people’ and blamed the ‘complete submission and subserviency to the white man and his unjust, cruel and harsh domination over them.’

“Times were changing, though. Three months after the convention, the Negro World reported that UNIA members in Nash County had rallied to the aid of a prosperous black farmer’s son imprisoned on the false charge of injuring a white woman in a car accident. They had made clear their willingness to die in his defense.

“For Garveyites in North Carolina, the right to self-definition was just as inviolable as the right to self-defense. They joined the other ‘Negroes of the World’ at the 1920 convention parade. Under the red, green and black streamers strewn across the streets of Harlem, they carried banners declaring ‘Africa for the Africans,’ ‘Africa Must Be Free’ and ‘Africa a Nation One and Indivisible.’

— From “Tar Heels, Alive” by Brandon R. Byrd  in The Point (Winter 2017) 


So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 25

1. With what other state does North Carolina share the subject of its statehood quarter?

2. Name the three largest “-boros” in North Carolina.

3. True or false: The first use of “redneck” noted by the Oxford English Dictionary, in 1830, referred to North Carolinians.

4. What musician — a graduate of Laurinburg Institute in Scotland County — is credited with popularizing the hipster facial hair known as the soul patch?

5. A Congressional investigation in 1965 found that North Carolina had the most active chapter of what organization?






1. Ohio, which claims the Wright Brothers because they lived in Dayton, even if they didn’t make their first flight there.

2. Greensboro, Goldsboro, Asheboro.

3. True. “Mrs. Royall’s Southern Tour”mentions “the Red Necks, a name bestowed upon the Presbyterians in Fayetteville.” A prolific and obstreperous author, Anne Royall detested Presbyterians, describing them as “blue-skins,” “blackcoats” and “copper-heads.” Royall’s cursing at Presbyterian proselytizers near her home in Washington resulted in her becoming the first American ever convicted of being a “common scold.” (She was fined $10.)

4. Dizzy Gillespie.

5. The Ku Klux Klan. On a single night that year the Klan burned crosses at courthouses or city halls in Oxford, Currie, Wards Corner, Burgaw, Roxboro, Salisbury, Henderson, Statesville, Tarboro, Whiteville, Elizabethtown, Southport and Wilmington.


New in the collection: Piedmont Airlines souvenir box

Tin of double decker bus for Piedmont Airlines

Quite a big deal it was in 1987, when Charlotte Douglas International Airport was awarded its first nonstop transatlantic passenger service.

Piedmont Airlines even commissioned this ambitiously-detailed souvenir tin box, made in England, to celebrate the Gatwick connection.


So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 24

1. What is Carolina muddle?

2. In Look magazine’s 1956 issue on “The South vs. the Supreme Court,” what North Carolinian contributed “The Case for Segregation”?

3. “To such an open declaration by the Marion businessmen that they will assist Capital to choke Labor, can there, on the part of workers, be any conceivable answer save the most militant and universal and immediate organization of trade unions?” Who wrote these words about the Marion Manufacturing Co. strike that left six workers shot dead?

4. True or false: In antebellum North Carolina, towns such as Edenton, Fayetteville and Wilmington required free blacks to register and to wear cloth badges on their left shoulder bearing the word “FREE.”

5. The movie “Cold Mountain,” set in the N.C. mountains, was filmed mostly in what country?





1. A thick fish stew found in eastern North Carolina and Virginia, especially the Outer Banks.

2. Sen. Sam Ervin.

3. Sinclair Lewis. His newspaper coverage was collected in the pamphlet “Cheap and Contented Labor: The Picture of a Southern Mill Town in 1929.”

4. True.

5. Romania.


New in the collection: Sam Ervin’s first campaign poster

Campaign poster for Sam Ervin Jr for Solicitor


“Ervin got his first taste of corrupt politics in 1926 when he ran for district solicitor, the equivalent in most states of prosecutor. It was the first time he had sought elective office on his own, and the only time he was ever beaten. It was apparent to Ervin’s supporters that he lost the election to L. S. Sperling of nearby Lenoir because the ballot boxes in Caldwell County had been tampered with….”

— From “Just a Country Lawyer: A Biography of Senator Sam Ervin” by Paul R. Clancy (1974)

I obtained this poster many years ago from Senator Sam’s grandson, Superior Court Judge Robert C. Ervin.


So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 23

1. True or false: More than one in four of the Americans named Zeb live in North Carolina.

2. Sherwood Anderson based his 1932 novel “Beyond Desire” on what N.C. event?

3. What late U.S. senator was born in North Carolina as Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr.?

4. What 17-year-old gave up painting and turned to folk music after attending the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville in 1936?

5. “Disraeli saw two nations, the rich and the poor, in 19th-century England. That day in Durham, North Carolina, I for the first time saw two nations, black and white, in 20th-century America.” Who wrote those words — Richard Nixon, Terry Sanford or John Edwards?





1. True. Zebulon “Zeb” Vance, governor during the Civil War, has been called the state’s most popular political figure.

2. The Gastonia textile workers’ strike of 1929.

3. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., born in Wilkesboro in 1917. His mother died a year later, and young Cornelius was adopted by aunt and uncle Vlurma and Titus Byrd, with whom he moved to West Virginia when he was about 2.

4. Pete Seeger, for whom hearing the five-string banjo proved a life-changing experience.

5. Nixon, recalling the sight of a shift change at a downtown tobacco plant while a law student at Duke.