Tag Archives: Black History Month

African American History and Culture: publications from UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South

If you haven’t already seen it, we highly recommend perusing the current issue of Southern Cultures, which is put out by UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South, and features a couple of articles of special interest:

–   “Bobby Rush: “Blues Singer–Plus,” written by William R. Ferris, who is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History, Senior Associate Director of the Center for the Study of the American South, and Adjunct Professor of Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

–   “For the Records: How African American Consumers and Music Retailers Created Commercial Public Space in the 1960s and 1970s South,” written by Joshua Clark Davis, who is a UNC-CH PhD and currently a fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C, researching “the globalization of African American music and consumer culture.”

In addition, the Center has conveniently compiled an extensive two-part collection of their publications on African American History and Culture, spanning the last ten years. Be sure to check it out here: Part I & Part II.

February 25, 1870: Hiram Revels sworn in as first African American U.S. Senator

Did you know?  On this day in 1870, Fayetteville-born Hiram Revels became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Revels (1827-1901) trained as a minister and served the U.S. Union Army as both a recruiter and a chaplain during the Civil War.  Over the course of his life, “”he would develop an impressive resume, serving as a teacher, pastor, lecturer, and public servant” (Middleton 2002: 319).  Following his brief tenure in the U.S. Senate, Revels went on to become the first president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi.

Interested in learning more? Come by the Stone Center Library, where we have plenty of items to get you started:

Biographical sketches:


As always, if you have any research questions, don’t hesitate to ask!  We are open Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Our reference chat buddy name is StonecenterRef or you may also contact us via phone or email.  Happy reading!

TONIGHT at the Stone Center: Black History Month Read-In

TONIGHT at 6:00 p.m., UNC’s Carolina Black Caucus is hosting an evening of culture, cuisine, and literature related to the African Diaspora.


Black History Month Read-In
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Hitchcock Room, The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

“This special event features readings related to or written by descendants of the African Diaspora read by members of the university community”

For more details: cbinfo@unc.edu or 919-843-0336

February 1, 1960: the launch of Greensboro sit-ins

51 years ago today, four student activists from NC A&T State University seated themselves at the then-segregated lunch counter of a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, NC.  As African-Americans seated at a “Whites Only” counter, they were refused service.  Undeterred, these non-violent protesters returned the next day and the next, each time bringing an increasing number of supporters.


By the end of the week, their numbers reached the thousand mark and other local lunch counters found themselves similarly targeted as word of the protest spread.  By a month’s time, the sit-in movement had spread to neighboring states, despite the abuse and threats of violence suffered by protesters.  Woolworth’s was desegregated in August of that year and the International Civil Rights Museum estimates that by then, “more than 70,000 people had participated in sit-ins”, which in turn inspired a host of related protests at other segregated public spaces like churches and libraries.


Interested in learning more about this and other other milestones of U.S. Civil Rights history?  Not sure how to get started?  Don’t forget the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web!  Here you can find online resources for a variety of topics, such as Civil Rights history.  Happy reading!




A brief history of the “Wilmington Ten”

On Wednesday, we posted an upcoming event commemorating the Wilmington Ten.  But just who were the Wilmington Ten?

On February 6, 1971 racial tensions in downtown Wilmington, NC came to a head when several local businesses were set on fire.  Firemen responding to the call then came under attack, as shots were fired from the roof of the Gregory Congregational Church, which housed several students and protesters.  There were two deaths and several injuries over the next couple of days.  Based on evidence that was later called to question in court, ten individuals were convicted and sentenced: Benjamin Chavis, Connie Tindall, Marvin “Chili” Patrick, Wayne Moore, Reginald Epps, Jerry Jacobs, James “Bun” McKoy, Willie Earl Vereen, William “Joe” Wright, Jr, and Ann Shepard.

Coming to be known as the “Wilmington Ten,” their situation garnered international attention when Amnesty International took up their case 1976, believing them to be persecuted for their beliefs rather than proven ties to the events of February 1971.  Eventually, the conviction was overturned in 1980 and Benjamin Chavis, who at the time of his arrest was a minister and community organizer, went on to hold various positions of leadership within the African American civil rights community.  On Tuesday (6:30pm in the Stone Center Auditorium), Dr. Chavis will offer reflections on the lessons of the Wilmington Ten as part of a commemorative program hosted by UNC’s Institute of African American Research.

For more details on the history of the Wilmington Ten, check out this UNC Libraries blog post.  Interested in learning more about keynote speaker Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr?  Come browse our reference collection!  For example, the items below contain biographical sketches of his life and career:

Or if you’re looking for online resources, check out this biography published by The History Makers.  In addition, Dr. Chavis maintains a website, where he has posted an autobiography and you can find him on facebook.

Happy reading!

Black History events at the NC Museum of History

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Planning ahead for Black History Month?  The NC Museum of History has various events coming up!

10th Annual African American Cultural Celebration
Saturday, Jan. 29
11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Over 75 presenters—musicians, storytellers, dancers, historians, playwrights, authors, artists, reenactors, chefs, teachers, scholars, and more—will be on hand to kick off Black History Month and celebrate North Carolina’s diverse African American heritage and culture. For more information, call Emily Grant at 919-807-7979 or visit ncmuseumofhistory.org.

African American History Tour
Saturday, Feb. 5, 12, 19, and 26
1:30–2:30 p.m.
Explore the lives and accomplishments of African American North Carolinians from the antebellum period to the Civil Rights era.

Hands-on History
Saturday, Feb. 5, 12, 19, and 26
1–3 p.m.
Learn about African Americans who have called North Carolina home as you make a craft, jump a rope, or hear a story. DROP-IN PROGRAM
The Ambidexter Philosopher: Thomas Jefferson in Black Thought, 1776–1877
Sunday, Feb. 6
2 p.m.
Mia Bay, Rutgers University
Professor Bay will examine African Americans’ changing ideas about Thomas Jefferson between the American Revolution and the post-emancipation era. This Perspectives on History lecture is presented in conjunction with the National Humanities Center and sponsored by the N.C. Museum of History Associates.

History à la Carte: 1898 Wilmington Race Riot
Wednesday, Feb. 9
12:10–1 p.m.
Bring your lunch; beverages provided.
LeRae Umfleet, Collections Management Chief, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
In 1898 white rioters in Wilmington violently overthrew a legitimately elected black Republican government, changing the course of politics and race relations in North Carolina and across the nation. Umfleet will discuss the riot and its long-term impact.

Music of the Carolinas: Magic of African Rhythm
Sunday, Feb. 13
3–4 p.m.
This powerful ensemble features traditional African melody, movement, and rhythm. Students from Raleigh’s Community Music School will join them for a special program. PineCone cosponsors the performance.

Hope you all have a great weekend! 🙂

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Commemorating the Wilmington 10, February 2nd at 6:30pm, Stone Center Auditorium

February marks the 40th anniversary of the events that led to the case of the Wilmington 10.  In commemoration, UNC’s Institute of African American Research is sponsoring a program next week featuring several members of the Wilmington 10, including a keynote address by Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr.



Feb 2, 2011

6:30 pm

UNC Stone Center Auditorium


Wilmington 10 Program

Hope to see you there!