Looking Back for Black History Month

by Sarah Guy, Research Assistant
The Sonja Haynes Stone Center Library for Black Culture and History first opened its doors on September 7, 2004, but its history can be traced back many years prior. The library’s namesake, Sonja Haynes Stone, served as the director of UNC’s Curriculum for Afro-American Studies from 1974 until 1979; she then continued as a professor until her unexpected passing on August 10, 1991. Stone won multiple awards during her time as a professor, including the Black Student Movement Faculty Award from one of the organizations that she advised, and she also served on numerous committees as a faculty member.  
One committee that Stone served on was the Black Cultural Center planning committee, which advocated for a center for black culture on campus.  In 1988, the committee’s planning came to fruition when the Black Cultural Center was established at UNC, housed in the Franklin Porter Graham Student Union. After Stone’s death in 1991, the BCC was renamed the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center. Soon after, students began a campaign to provide the growing center with a stand-alone building to accommodate its work and programming.  
In the summer of 1992, four African American football players founded the Black Awareness Council (BAC),  aimed at improving the treatment of African Americans on campus by several means, including the construction of a free-standing Black Cultural Center. The creation of the BAC  helped spark one of the largest student movements in the university’s history, which was chronicled by many newspapers, including the student-run Daily Tar Heel  and Black Ink. Student organizations were actively protesting Chancellor Paul Hardin’s lack of support for the Black Cultural Center outside of South Building as early as March 1992.  

A digitized Daily Tar Heel front page from September 9, 1992, with headline "BCC supporters give Hardin ultimatum"
The front page of the Daily Tar Heel on September 11, 1992 detailed the march to the Chancellor’s office in South Building. Articles and documents related to the Black Awareness Council can be found in the Wilson Library Special Collections.

The protests and rallies became more frequent, however, during the 1992-1993 school year, particularly with the activity of the BAC. On the night of September 3, 1992, 300 students marched from campus to the residence of Chancellor Paul Hardin to give him a list of demands, but he wasn’t at home. A week later, students marched from the Student Stores to the chancellor’s on-campus office and delivered their letter with their demands, which included an ultimatum demanding that he take action by November 13.  
On September 17, 1992, filmmaker and activist Spike Lee visited the Dean Smith Center and spoke at a rally of 5,000 people. In response to these events and the students’ ultimatum, Chancellor Hardin endorsed a free-standing center in a press conference on October 15, 1992.  
A digitized September 1992 article from the Daily Tar Heel with the headline "About 5,000 rally in support of free standing BCC"
Another Daily Tar Heel article covered the rally at the Dean Smith Center.

The UNC Board of Trustees approved the building of a free-standing center almost eight months after the Chancellor’s endorsement on July 23, 1993. Although the proposal for the center listed an open tract of land near Wilson Library and Dey Hall as their preferred location, the Board of Trustees said that it would be better placed at one of the alternate locations across from Coker Hall.  
Among the original plans for facilities to be housed in the Stone Center were a dance studio, an auditorium, and a library. The library was originally conceived as a non-circulating, browsing collection, which would be open for anyone to read its materials but not to check them out. However, by the time the building opened its doors in 2004, librarians in Davis had been developing the Stone Center Library’s collections for months, and it opened as the newest branch of UNC Libraries. The collection has grown from around 6,000 books to nearly 12,000 volumes over the course of almost 15 years.    
A page from the plan for the Stone Center
This page from the architecture firm’s proposal lists the plan for the library to go in the Stone Center.

Currently, the Stone Center Library’s shelves are near capacity, filled with books covering a wide range of topics, from encyclopedias of black culture to the works of African American historians and great works of African American literature. As part of the Stone Center, the library seeks to further its mission to serve the population of UNC-Chapel Hill with information about African, African American, and African Diaspora Studies. The Stone Center Library would be unable to accomplish that goal without the untiring efforts of people like Sonja Haynes Stone and the students who many years ago fought for the existence of a center for black culture.  

N.K. Jemisin Scores a Win for Representation

by Kai Heslop, Student Assistant
The Hugo Award logo is a trophy shaped like a spaceship and the title, Hugo AwardAndrea Hairston, Nnedi Okorafor and Tananarive Due are all writers who have greatly contributed to the world of black science fiction and fantasy (SFF). However, the first author ever to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row has proven to be a champion for representation within the genre. N.K. Jemisin’s groundbreaking works in the Broken Earth series have attracted attention and acclaim among writers and editors alike in the genre.  

Many view SFF as a forward thinking and progressive genre by default due to the futuristic topics and themes of challenging norms often included. This, however, does not make it exempt from the widespread phenomenon in the world of literature and entertainment of preferring characters of certain races over others. This same standard extends to the writers who create these characters and bring them to life. Being that SFF as a genre has historically been dominated by white creatives, recent efforts to diversify the genre have been met with varying levels of acceptance.  
In 2009, a yearlong discussion series called Racefail was launched to facilitate conversation around the dominant role that white colonialism played and continues to play in SFF narratives. The conclusion of this series led to a broader understanding of why marginalized voices, especially those of women and people of color, need to be given a platform. Jemisin even directly credited Racefail for the role it played in making the SFF community a safer space for minority writers like herself.  
Despite this, when Jemisin first won the Hugo Award back in 2016, making her the first African American author to receive this prestigious award for a novel, right-wing voters were in a state of disbelief. They attributed her win to identity politics, saying that Jemisin won solely because she was a black woman. The use of this rhetoric was essentially an attempt to prevent Jemisin from recognition as the deserving, talented writer that she is. In 2013, Theodore Beale, another SFF author, referred to Jemisin as a “half-savage” in posts online.   
Jemisin hasn’t allow the words of naysayers to prevent her from following her dreams and, most importantly, from doing what she loves: writing. As she said in her acceptance speech at the 2018 Hugo Awards, Jemisin’s first book, The Killing Moon, was rejected based on the presumption that only black people would want to read a book by a black author. Comparing the reception of her first book to the reception of her Broken Earth series is a testament to just how resilient Jemisin has been in her fight for representation in spaces where black voices have been challenged and silenced for years.  
You can find Jemisin’s award-winning novels, along with many of her earlier works, at the Undergraduate Library:  

And check out some of the other African American SFF books available in the Stone Center Library: 

The SCL Transforms!

Facebook cover art: Celebrate National Library Week, April 10-16, 2016, Libraries Transform

April 10-16, 2016 is National Library Week. The 2016 NLW theme is ‘Libraries Transform’. We thought we would take this opportunity to tell you about the many ways in which the Stone Center Library has transformed in the last year. Each day next week, progressing from the entrance of the library, through the entire library space, the blog will feature an aspect of our transformation and how it has allowed us to improve our support of teaching and learning at UNC Chapel Hill. Stay tuned!

Transcribe-a-thon November 5, 2015

The following guest post was written by Stephanie Hsieh, the 2015-2017 Stone Center Library CALA.
Following the Paper Trail: All About UNC’s First Transcribe-a-thon
How do we learn about the past? Without time travel, one of our most important methods for peering back in time is paper. Think of how much of your life is on paper: letters, cards, medical records, legal matters. Now imagine if every e-mail you’ve ever sent or received was printed out too!
Transcribe-a-thon poster_final-page-001
All of those papers would tell some future reader a little something about your life. The same is true of the old letters, poems, ledgers, and more in UNC’s Southern Historical Collection. By studying the papers of the past, we can learn more about how people thought, worked, and lived.
Archivists work hard to find and preserve those documents for generations to come. That often means sealing them away from light and moisture that might damage them further. But what about us, the people who want to read them and learn more about our past right now?
That’s where UNC’s first Transcribe-a-thon, held on November 5, 2015, came in.
The Transcribe-a-thon was an opportunity for participants to make history, touch history, and learn more about what archivists and others involved in document preservation, do. The Southern Historical Collection has a treasure trove of handwritten documents that tell us about African American culture in the nineteenth century. Poems, letters, diaries, and more tell the story of what life was like for African Americans living 300 years ago.
Old documents can be pretty hard to read. That’s where transcription comes in! Transcribers got to look at these documents up close while transcribing them from handwriting to something easier to read. During the Transcribe-a-thon, participants were also taught some of the tips and tricks that archivists, paleographers and historians use to read those old documents.
Photos of the event are available here.

IAAR Brown Bag – “The Voter Education Project and the Financing of the Black Freedom Movement: The Case of Monroe, Louisiana, 1963-1966”

The UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of African American Research (IAAR) begins its 2015-2016 series of graduate student brown bag lectures with a presentation by Evan Faulkenbury, PhD candidate in the UNC-CH Department of History.  The talk will be held on Monday, September 21, 2015 at 12:00pm in Room 309C of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.
Faulkenbury’s talk is titled “The Voter Education Project and the Financing of the Black Freedom Movement: The Case of Monroe, Louisiana, 1963-1966” and all are welcome to attend.
The Stone Center Library staff has prepared a bibliography to accompany this lecture, the PDF of which can be found here.

MURAP 2015

We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with the 2015 Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) scholars beginning May 26, until they depart on July 30.
Now in its 21st year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MURAP “is a graduate-level research experience for highly talented undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in pursuing doctorates in the humanities, social sciences or fine arts.”
This year, the Stone Center Library is thrilled to support this mission by offering a series of lunchtime, drop-in Research Skills Labs that will allow MURAP scholars to deepen their knowledge of research skills and tools that can be of help to them while conducting their research at UNC and once they return to their home institutions.

IAAR Brown Bag – “Student Perspectives on Resegregation in NC Public Schools”

The UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of African American Research (IAAR) wraps up their spring 2015 series of brown bag lectures with a presentation by Shelby Dawkins-Law, UNC School of Education, titled “Student Perspectives on Resegregation in NC Public Schools”.
The talk will be held on Monday, April 13 2015 at 12:00pm in Room 309C of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.
The Stone Center Library staff has prepared a bibliography to accompany this lecture, the PDF of which can be found here.

'Returning to Where the Artistic Seed was Planted: Selected Works of J. Eugene Grigsby, Jr.'

The Stone Center Library is proud to host an exhibit of selected works of J. Eugene Grigsby Jr. beginning on April 1, 2015 and running through June 30, 2015. A native of North Carolina, Grigsby was born in Greensboro, NC in 1918 and was an artist, an art educator and a scholar. He was also a contemporary of several noted 20th century artists including Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden.
The 14 paintings that will be on display are part of an exhibit developed by Dr. Marshall Grigsby, son of the artist, for the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina.
An opening reception will take place at the Stone Center Library (3rd floor of the Stone Center) on April 1 at 5 pm. The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public. For event information, contact Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, liza_terll@unc.edu, (919) 548-1203.
More information about the exhibition and opening reception can be found here: http://bit.ly/1boA6jD
The Stone Center Library has also prepared a bibliography in support of the exhibit, the PDF of which is available here.

IAAR Women of Color and Culturally Relevant Educational Leadership

The UNC Chapel Hill Institute of African American Research (IAAR) is sponsoring a talk by Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez Vargas on the topic of culturally relevant leadership in independent schools on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 3pm in the Toy Lounge of Dey Hall on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.
The Stone Center Library staff has prepared a list of references available through UNC-CH Libraries that can shed more light on this and related topics, including culturally relevant education and women in education.
Independent Schools
Beadie, Nancy, and Kimberley Tolley. Chartered Schools: Two Hundred Years of Independent Academies in the United States, 1727-1925. New York: Routledge Falmer, 2002. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Case, Agnes Gilman. Operating an Independent School: A Guide for School Leaders. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Hughes, Kimberly B., and Sara A. M. Silva. Identifying Leaders for Urban Charter, Autonomous and Independent Schools: Above and beyond the Standards. Bingley: Emerald Group Pub., 2013. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Independent Schools: A Handbook. 6th ed. Princeton, NJ: Secondary School Admission Test Board, 1980. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Kane, Pearl Rock. Independent Schools, Independent Thinkers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Blacks in Education
Asumah, Seth Nii, and Valencia C. Perkins. Educating the Black Child in the Black Independent School. Binghamton, NY: Global Publications, 2001. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Kane, Pearl Rock., and Alfonso J. Orsini. The Colors of Excellence: Hiring and Keeping Teachers of Color in Independent Schools. New York: Teachers College, 2003. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Leadership through Achievement: Women of Color in Higher Education. Washington, DC: American Council on Education, 2005. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Vargas, Lucila. Women Faculty of Color in the White Classroom: Narratives on the Pedagogical Implications of Teacher Diversity. New York: P. Lang, 2002. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Stone Center Library)
Mallery, David. Negro Students in Indepedent Schools. Boston: National Association of Public Schools, 1963. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
Slaughter-Defoe, Diana T. Black Educational Choice Assessing the Private and Public Alternatives to Traditional K-12 Public Schools. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2012. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Stone Center Library)
Women in Education
Dean, Diane R., Susan J. Bracken, and Jeanie K. Allen. Women in Academic Leadership: Professional Strategies, Personal Choices. Sterling, VA.: Stylus Pub., 2009. Print. (Available in UNC-CH Davis Library)
This source list is available as a printable PDF.
Compiled by Stephanie Cornelison

'Racialized Spaces and Proper Places: Frantz Fanon, Decolonization, and the Rise of New Territorialities'

Alvaro Reyes Flyer
Professor Alvaro Reyes, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and  current UNC-CH Institute of African American Research (IAAR) fellow, will be delivering a talk titled ‘Racialized Spaces and Proper Places: Frantz Fanon, Decolonization, and the Rise of New Territorialities’ on  February 19, 2015, at 1pm in the Hitchcock Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.
More information about Professor Reyes’ work can be found here.