Campus History Walking Tour: Student Activism at UNC Chapel Hill

Two young black men sit at a table outside on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill. The table has sign that reads" BSM Legal Defense Fund/Help Students Pay Fine."

Black Student Movement members collecting money to pay fines levied against those arrested during participation in the Food Workers’ Strike, circa April 1969. From the 1972 Yackety Yack yearbook.

We are pleased to announce that the University Archives will be leading walking tours on the history of student activism at UNC Chapel Hill. These are offered in conjunction with the exhibit, Service, Not Servitude: The 1969 Food Workers’ Strikes at UNC Chapel Hill.

These tours will cover student activism at Carolina over several decades, highlighting examples of the different ways UNC students have joined together to make their voices heard and to advocate for change on campus, across the nation, and around the world. These tours will not cover every single instance of student activism – far from it – but will touch on a selection of the most prominent or most influential efforts by student activists and their allies. 

Because the stories of activism at UNC are far larger and more complex than can be covered in a single afternoon, we encourage everyone, whether they join us on the tour or not, to explore the resources listed below and learn more about student activism at Carolina. Locations in parentheses refer to where the topic is discussed on the tour.

Speaker Ban (Franklin Street) 

Student Protest Movements, UNC Libraries. https://guides.lib.unc.edu/protests_unc/speaker-ban 

“The Speaker Ban Controversy” from I Raised My Hand to Volunteer, UNC Libraries. https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/protest/speaker-essay

 

Confederate Monument (McCorkle Place) 

A Guide to Resources about UNC’s Confederate Monument, University Archives. https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/silent-sam/about. 

A Guide to Researching Campus Monuments and Buildings: “Silent Sam” Confederate Monument. UNC Libraries. https://guides.lib.unc.edu/campus-monuments/silent-sam 

 

Vietnam Protests (Campus Y) 

“Vietnam War Protests,” from I Raised My Hand to Volunteer, UNC Libraries. https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/protest/vietnam-essay 

Student Protest Movements, UNC Libraries. https://guides.lib.unc.edu/protests_unc/anti-war 

 

Anti-Apartheid Protests (South Building) 

Timeline of 1980s Anti-Apartheid Activism, University Archives. https://blogs.lib.unc.edu/uarms/index.php/2017/05/timeline-of-1980s-anti-apartheid-activism-at-unc/ 

Student Protest Movements, UNC Libraries. https://guides.lib.unc.edu/protests_unc/anti-apartheid 

 

Student Body Sculpture (Hamilton/Manning Courtyard) 

A Guide to Researching Campus Monuments and Buildings: The “Student Body” Sculpture, UNC Libraries. https://guides.lib.unc.edu/campus-monuments/student-body 

 

Saunders/Hurston/Carolina Hall (in front of Manning) 

Southern Oral History Program, interviews on Racial Justice Activism at UNC: https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/search/collection/sohp/searchterm/L.15.%20University%20of%20North%20Carolina:%20Racial%20Justice%20Activism/mode/exact 

 

Food Workers’ Strike (in front of Manning) 

“The BSM and the Foodworkers’ Strike,” from I Raised My Hand to Volunteer, UNC Libraries exhibit. https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/protest/foodworker-essay 

Student Protest Movements, UNC Library guide: https://guides.lib.unc.edu/protests_unc/food-workers 

 

Black Cultural Center Protests (in front of Wilson Library) 

“Student Protests in Support of the Black Cultural Center, 1992.” University Archives. https://blogs.lib.unc.edu/uarms/index.php/2015/11/student-protests-in-support-of-the-black-cultural-center-1992/ 

Southern Oral History Program, interviews on Racial Justice Activism at UNC: https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/search/collection/sohp/searchterm/L.15.%20University%20of%20North%20Carolina:%20Racial%20Justice%20Activism/mode/exact 

 

 

 

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UNC Jubilee Performers: A List

Cover to the 1965 Carolina Jubilee pamphlet. From the Records of the Student Union.

From 1963 to 1971, the end of UNC-Chapel Hill’s spring semester was marked by Jubilee, a festival that lasted for three days.  Though it began as a small and fairly restrained affair on the lawn of Graham Memorial,  it expanded to bigger and more raucous events that took place in larger venues such as Polk Place and Kenan Stadium. Each year would feature an abundance of performers, and a list of those performers can be found below.

1963: The Four Preps; The Chad Mitchell Trio; The Jades; The Migrants; The Duke Ambassadors; The Harlequins; Iain Hamilton

1964: The Four Freshmen; Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs; The Serendipity Singers; Charlie Byrd; The Sinfonians;

1965: Johnny Cash; June Carter; Statler Brothers Quartet; The Tennessee Three; The Four Preps; The Platters with the Sinfonians; The Modern Folk Quartet

1966: Jay and the Americans; The Bitter End Singers; Warm Brows and Cool Tones; David della Rossa and Brooks; Charlie Byrd; Al Hirt

1967: The Temptations; Jim Kweskin Jug Band; Petula Clark; The Association; The Fabulous Five Combo; The Dynamics Combo

1968: Carla Thomas; Rufus Thomas; The New Bar Kays; Neil Diamond; Junior Walker and the All-Stars; Spanky and Our Gang; Nancy Wilson; Soul, Limited

1969: Chambers Brothers; Babe Stovall; Red Parham; Elizabeth Cotton; Alice and Hazel; Bill McElreath; Rev. Pearly Brown; Paul Butterfield Blues Band

1970: Sweetwater; James Taylor; Pacific Gas and Electric; Joe Cocker and the Grease Band; B.B. King; Grand Funk Railroad; Baby Boy Glover Resurrected; New Deal String Band

1971: Chuck Berry; Spirit; Cowboy; Muddy Waters; J. Geils; Brushy Mountain Boys; Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band; Allman Brothers; Alex Taylor; Tom Rush

Read more about Jubilee here.

References:

Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1931-2013 (#40128)

Jock Lauterer Photographic Collection, circa 1964-1968 (#P0069)

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Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham

“If you build it, they will come,” intones a mysterious voice at the beginning of Field of Dreams, the classic 1989 baseball movie. If you like baseball, you like Field of Dreams—that is an unavoidable fact of life. If you don’t like baseball, you also like Field of Dreams. There is no group that dislikes Field of Dreams; there are only those who have seen it and those who haven’t. The film’s high concept is flawless, after all: “what if baseball ghosts loved the Midwest more than the afterlife?”

As deserved as it may be, this post isn’t meant simply to sing the praises of Kevin Costner: one particular aspect of the movie relates to UNC specifically and especially.

Field of Dreams features an elderly doctor and ex-baseball player for the New York Giants, “Moonlight” Graham (played by Burt Lancaster). This character wasn’t entirely fictional and was based on one Archibald Graham, older brother of Frank Porter Graham: UNC system president, UNC student union namesake, and U.S. senator. President Graham admired his elder sibling and wanted to pursue a career in baseball himself, but luckily for the UNC system it didn’t take off.

Image of the UNC baseball team from the 1900 yearbook. Moonlight is the player with crossed arms on the far right, below the suited figure.

“Moonlight” was born in Fayetteville in 1879, and was a skilled baseball player since childhood. He pursued that passion for the game during his time at UNC-Chapel Hill (Frank Porter Graham did too, but as the Carolina Alumni Review points out, “it was Archie who could hit”). He put off advancing as a doctor to enter the minor leagues, and some suspect that’s where his famous nickname came from: moonlighting as a ball player to pay his way to a doctorate.

In 1902 he finally earned a certificate of medicine from UNC and completed his degree in 1905, at the University of Maryland. In 1909 he left North Carolina for the small town of Chisholm in Minnesota, where he established himself as the local doctor. As he lived there he became a beloved father figure to the community, only rarely returning to NC.

Archie passed away in 1965, and the Chisholm Free Press honored him with a story:

He was the champion of the oppressed; the grand marshal of every football, basketball, and baseball game. He encouraged youth to train and play; he always carried that extra candy bar for the energy some lanky, hungry lad needed; he was the first one at the side of the boy who got hurt in any sport. Doc was just that kind of man.

Read more about Moonlight Graham here.

Sources and Recommended Reading:

Carolina Alumni Review: September/October 2005

Chasing Moonlight : The True Story of Field of Dreams’ Doc Graham

The Hellennian (1900)

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On This Day in 1968: Three In the Attic Released

An illustration featuring representations of three women, an attic roof, and a man in a birdcage. Includes the text "3 in the Attic" and information about the film.

A poster for the 1968 film “Three in the Attic,” which was filmed in part on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.

The farcical drama Three in the Attic was released on this day in 1968. The film is set at a fictional New England college, but was filmed primarily at and around UNC. The plot centers on one student, Paxton, who begins dating three girls at a neighboring school. Things take a turn for the worse when they discover his infidelity. Together they decide to lock him in an attic and torture him with their love.

When producers from American Film International approached UNC about using parts of the UNC campus for their new movie, Chancellor Carlyle Sitterson appointed Professor William Hardy of UNC’s Radio,Television, and Motion Picture Department to the task of reading the script and deciding whether or not the film was appropriate to be filmed at UNC.

Photograph courtesy of the Daily Tarheel

Hardy approved the script, writing to the chancellor that he only found one scene in particular, to be “considered marginal in taste.” In the same letter, he remarks that he is aware that there were other scenes with “sexual overtones” in the script, but it did not contain “homosexuality, any other perversion, or violence.” With this nod of approval and less than subtle homophobia, the filming commenced.

The film hit some roadblocks in the press, written off as a pornographic film or “skin flick”when a reporter at the Greensboro Daily News was denied entry to the set of the film. A graduate student who was on set that day informed the reporter that he saw nude actors walking by and that half of the crew was being kept out for some of the scenes being filmed that day. The resulting article, claiming they were filming a “skin flick” on UNC’s campus, sparked some debate and controversy. Letters poured into the chancellor and vice chancellor’s offices expressing concern for the integrity of the university. But by this time, the scenes being filmed at UNC were nearly done. As the filming in Chapel Hill came to a close, the director of the film, Richard Wilson, penned a letter apologizing for the “flurry of adverse publicity” the university was receiving, assuring the chancellor that the film was nothing more than a “social satire” and not a “skin flick” as the local news outlets were reporting.

When the film came out, it was revealed that it was not pornographic, but did include scenes with partial nudity and adult themes, Professor Hardy wrote again to Chancellor Sitterson. He apologized for the terrible turn of events claiming the script he read “at the outset of the matter gave promise of something entirely different and certainly better than the final result.”

The negative attention the university received in relation to the film died down shortly after the release. Since the film came out, it has had a less than stellar reputation with one article calling the film “overpriced.” However, you might still want to watch it just to see if you recognize some of your favorite spots on and around campus.

If you watch Three in the Attic you might recognize some of these notable locations on campus and nearby:

  • The ATO house
  • Old Carrboro Railroad Station
  • Swain Hall
  • 115 Battle Lane
  • Durham Allied Arts

 

Resources:

The Daily Tar Heel, available online via DigitalNC.org.

Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Joseph Carlyle Sitterson Records, 1966-1972 (#40022)

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The History of The Nutcracker at UNC

Attending a performance or two of “The Nutcracker” is a yearly holiday tradition among many families across the United States. It continues to be a staple in the repertoire of dance companies around the country and for countless theater-goers, a first glimpse into the world of ballet.

The ballet’s music was created in 1892 by Russian composer Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky based on the story The Nutcracker of Nurembourg by Alexandre Dumas. Dumas, the 19th century French writer most known for penning The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, adapted the story from E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov has been developed and changed over time. One of the most famous and reproduced renditions was created by George Balanchine, an enduringly prominent and influential figure in American ballet. (Fisher, 2012)

Like many classical ballets, modifications to the choreography have been made over time. Ballet training, aesthetic preferences and dancers capabilities are much different than they were when “The Nutcracker” was created (Daprati, Iosa & Haggard, 2009). Many artistic directors have also changed the racially and ethnically insensitive depictions of characters in the “Tea” and “Coffee” variations performed in the second act. One of the campaigns at the forefront of these changes today is the online platform Final Bow for Yellowface, led by New York City Ballet’s Georgina Pazcoguin (Lansky, 2018). Overall, directors have adapted the ballet to fit particular time periods, locations and tastes.

From the Daily Tar Heel, 16 May 1959.

At UNC, the first performance of The Nutcracker was by The Area Ballet in Memorial Hall nearly 60 years ago on May (not December!) 16, 1959. It was choreographed by John R. Lehman and sponsored by the UNC Music Club. (Daily Tar Heel, 1959). In 1978, the Carolina Dancers performed a funnier, “wilder” take on the traditional ballet with magicians on roller skates, punk rockers and candy cane pillows. It featured cameos from some of UNC’s faculty and notable dance professionals from across the Triangle. (Robinson, 1978). This performance was repeated in 1980, with appearances by UNC dancers, and again, dancers from around the city, such as M’liss Dorrance, Jack Arnold and Donald Blumenfeld (Moore, 1980). In 1989, the first occurrence of The Nutcracker: The Play was adapted by Karl Joos for Playmakers Repertory Company from the original E.T.A. Hoffman stories. (Daily Tar Heel, 1989). It has also been adapted by former Artistic Director David Hammond and current Chair of Dramatic Art and Dramaturg for Playmakers, Adam Versényi.

From the Daily Tar Heel, 6 December 1978.

UNC’s performance presenting organization, Carolina Performing Arts, has fused the tradition into the creation of their performance season every year. In 2009, the Carolina Ballet started performing The Nutcracker at Memorial Hall in addition to performing at theaters in Raleigh and Durham. The ballet, adapted by Artistic Director Robert Weiss, has plenty of occurrences of magical illusions, with bodies disappearing and appearing in boxes, trees growing and beds miraculously sailing across the stage on their own. (Strange, 2011). The audience is peppered with young people in awe of not only the magician Dosselmeyer’s tricks, but also the magic of attending live ballet.

Carolina Performing Arts 2012/2013 season brochure, Issu.

References and further reading:

Carolina Performing Arts. (2012, Dec. 31). Carolina performing arts 2012/2013 full season brochure. Issu.

Daprati, E., Iosa, M., & Haggard, P. (2009). A dance to the music of time: aesthetically-relevant changes in body posture in performing art. PLoS One4(3), e5023.

Fisher, J. (2012). The Nutcracker. Dance Heritage Coalition.

Lansky, Chava. (2018, Nov. 30). NYCB’s Georgina Pazcoguin on her new initiative to eliminate Asian stereotypes in ballet. Point Magazine.

Moore, Tom. (1980, Dec. 5). ‘Nutcracker to be presented.’ The Daily Tar Heel, 88(68), 9.

Robinson, Cathy. (1978, Dec. 6). Dancers inject humor in adapting ‘Nutcracker’. The Daily Tar Heel, 86(68), 1.

Strange, Deborah. (2011, Dec. 1). Carolina Ballet’s the nutcracker updated with magic tricks”. The Daily Tar Heel.

The Daily Tar Heel. (1989, Nov. 17). The nutcracker: a play [advertisement]. The Daily Tar Heel97(93), 11.

The Daily Tar Heel. (1959, May 16). ‘Nutcracker suite’ performed in Memorial Hall at 8 tonight. The Daily Tar Heel, LXVII(167), 1.

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New Collection: Carolina Performing Arts

In 1931, a Spanish dance performed by Carola Goya was the first University Entertainment Series performance to grace the stage of Memorial Hall. It was the beginning of a robust history of commissioned and curated performing arts at UNC. From 1931 to 2002, the job of programming those performances was in the hands of the Carolina Union.

Over time, there were several complaints about the sound quality and comfort level of Memorial Hall. One audience member wrote that she attended a show featuring a renowned musician who couldn’t even play his instrument properly. His fingers were too sweaty from the humidity in the room! Since 1931, Memorial Hall has undergone several changes and in 2005, after a three-year hiatus, the theater reopened.

Plans for the updated venue accompanied plans for a new performance presenting organization that would be called Carolina Performing Arts. In the newly minted position of  Executive Director of the Arts, Emil Kang led the new organization into its 2005 inaugural season. Itzhak Perlman, Ronald K. Brown and Tony Bennett and the North Carolina Symphony were a few of the artists featured in CPA’s first year.

Plans and correspondence about the transformation of Memorial Hall and CPA’s inaugural season as well as ephemera from several Carolina Union performances are now available in the Carolina Performing Arts Records (#40428).

Items from the Carolina Performing Arts Records (#40428), University Archives

 

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Pete Seeger at UNC Chapel Hill, December 1962

Pete Seeger, a young white man in a button up shirt and tie, plays the banjo before a microphone.

Folk singer Pete Seeger in Memorial Hall. From the Daily Tar Heel, 6 December 1962.

When folk singer Pete Seeger came to campus on this day in 1962, his visit was preceded by weeks of controversy.

In November, the Daily Tar Heel first reported that Seeger was scheduled to perform a concert in Memorial Hall sponsored by UNC’s New Left Club.  It would be one of many concerts Seeger performed across the South to raise funds for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) – his only in North Carolina.

Founded in 1960, SNCC was a vital civil rights organization that used community organizing and direct action to combat voter suppression, segregation, and racial violence. (Learn more about SNCC at the SNCC Digital Gateway.) The organization was involved in many of the most iconic events of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s – including the Freedom Rides, Mississippi Freedom Summer, the March on Washington, and the Selma to Montgomery Marches.

The New Left Club, which sponsored the show, was an active but short-lived student organization of the early 1960s dedicated to the study and discussion of leftist politics and labor issues, often inviting speakers to lead discussion on topics of interest.

Seeger himself was the target of some of the controversy – he had been subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about his political beliefs and affiliations with communist organizations. (The conviction was overturned on appeal.) Amid the era’s panic over communism on university campuses, some considered him a dangerous leftist influence. However, it was not Seeger’s first time in Memorial Hall – he had performed a Carolina Union-sponsored show there just three years prior, without any controversy. It seems the New Left Club’s sponsorship of the concert, the proceeds going to SNCC, and the escalation of fears over communism at universities converged to draw the ire of opponents on campus and beyond. Alum Spencer Everett (class of 1960) wrote in a letter to the Daily Tar Heel:

I hope that students, who might be tempted to view the appearance of Pete Seeger as a harmless affair, worth the price of admission, will consider the left-wing, un-American causes to which the admission proceeds will be applied. With this in mind, I am sure that on December 5 the entertainment will be better and the air a good bit fresher anywhere but in the company of Mr. Seeger and the New Left. (Daily Tar Heel, 11/18/1962)

The day of the show, the Daily Tar Heel published an editorial in support of the performance. The author wrote:

Of what party or cell or country club or lodge or whatever, Pete Seeger is a member will have little relevance to his performance tonight. As students, more than any other section of the citizenry, we should not be confused by false arguments and spurious logic. What you will hear is the folk songs of the nation’s leading folk writer and composer – there will be no cell meeting, no band of conspirators taking oaths in sheep’s blood.

The overwhelmingly logical path is not to be frightened away from the Seeger concert by the muddled words of those who are afraid of men who sing songs praising peace and scorning war….not be frightened by the words of those who shudder at the thought of a “hammer of justice.” The logical path leads to Memorial Hall to see and hear the controversial Mr. Seeger, and decide for yourself. (Daily Tar Heel, 12/05/1962).

Several white young men in suits carrying signs, some with indiscernible text. Two signs read "New Left: Silent Sponsor" and "Don't give your $$$ to the New Left."

From the Daily Tar Heel, 19 December 1962.

A young white man in a suit and tie holds two signs, one reading "Save your dollars for democracy" and another reading "Seeger's hammer" with a drawing of a hammer and sickle dripping blood.

From the Daily Tar Heel, 6 December 1962.

That night, Seeger performed before a crowd of over 1,000, while 10 picketers marched outside Memorial Hall bearing signs with messages like “Give your money to Easter Seals, and not to SNCC,” “Watch from outside the windows,” “Do not go to this red-inspired concert,” and “Don’t support the silent sponsor.” Some of the protesters were from the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom, while others marched independently.  A crowd of 30-40 students watched the protest. (Daily Tar Heel, 12/06/1962)

One protester reflected in the Daily Tar Heel (12/16/1962) that their purpose was to “make sure that people were well-informed about his sponsor (the New Left), his record (many Communist-front affiliations) and the probable destination of their money (a freedom rider’s pocket).” He reported that “the people did not turn away in droves but enough did to give us some satisfaction.”

Jesse Helms, then an executive and commentator for Capitol Broadcasting Company (later North Carolina senator) lashed out in his nightly Viewpoint segment on WRAL-TV later that week:

The University campus has welcomed this Fall just about every conceivable type of extreme leftwinger. One night last week there was a folk-singer whose loyalty to his country has been at serious question…The folk-singer, a fellow named Pete Seeger, is not reported as having dispensed any of his political philosophy, and therefore we presume that he was invited merely for the purpose of adding to the University’s cultural life. It was mere coincidence, the academic freedom set will assure you, that Seeger’s appearance on the University campus was sponsored by the so-called “New Left Club.” Still, let’s tell it all: Seeger has been clearly identified as a known Communist; he refused to answer questions regarding his affiliation with the Communist Party; he has marched in Communist May Day parades; he was described in the 1961 report of the House of UnAmerican Activities Committee as ‘….without question, the best-known of the Communist Party’s entertainers.

The controversy on and off campus did little to dampen the spirit of Seeger or the audience. The Daily Tar Heel reported the day after the concert that “Seeger performed a program of old and contemporary folk songs that include several songs that have arisen from the desegregation movement. The greatest audience participation of the evening came on one of these, “We Shall Overcome,” theme song of CORE [Congress of Racial Equality].” (12/06/1962)

 

Sources and Further Reading

The Daily Tar Heel (dates cited in text), accessed via DigitalNC

Viewpoint, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library

Mike Seeger Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library

Ronald D. Cohen Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library

Guy and Candie Carawan Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library

Highlander Research and Education Center Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library

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New Collection: Danny Bell Photographs

We have just opened a new collection for research: photographs from Danny Bell. Bell has been at the heart of American Indian life at UNC since the late 1980s. He was one of the founders of the American Indian Studies program and has worked closely with the Carolina Indian Circle. Bell’s photos document performances, lectures, and classes, and include many images of Carolina Indian Circle events.

The photos now available for use in Wilson Library.

Carolina Indian Circle performance and beading workshop, ca. 1996-1997. Photo by Danny Bell.

Carolina Indian Circle performance and beading workshop, ca. 1996-1997. Photo by Danny Bell.

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New Collection: Fred Brooks Papers

Fred Brooks at the dedication of the Brooks Computer Science Building in 2008.

Fred Brooks at the dedication of the Brooks Computer Science Building in 2008. Photo by UNC News Services.

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new collection: the Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. Papers. This collection documents the work of Fred Brooks, the pioneer computer scientist and founder of UNC’s Department of Computer Science. The UNC Computer Science building, dedicated in 2008, is named for Brooks.

The collection includes materials about the Department of Computer Science, the development of the Triangle Universities Computing Center (an early collaboration between Duke and UNC), and records of Brooks’s research and writing, including the manuscript of his influential book The Mythical Man-Month.

The Brooks Papers are open and available for research in Wilson Library.

Image source: News Services of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#40139). Digital Folder DF-40139/0382, https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/record/uuid:a80564ce-18dc-487b-ad64-3519cc0879ae

 

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The Rise and Fall of Apple Chill

The Apple Chill festival began in Chapel Hill in 1972, a time when the city was (as the 1972 UNC yearbook said) “a town of small, even shops interrupted by one higher roof with the unmistakable air of village compactness and tradition.”

Springtime would bring the festivities to a Franklin Street closed to traffic, and people from far and wide would join the revelry. The large street fair brought thousands of people into Chapel Hill each year and provided exposure for artists and musicians of all types. A group that became a mainstay of the celebration was the Apple Chill Cloggers, a folk dance troupe that has performed in 14 countries since their first festival appearance in 1975.

The first Apple Chill festival page from the 1972 edition of the Yackety Yack.

As the years flew by Apple Chill began to change and three major issues began to make themselves clear: the astronomical cost, the violence, and the unbelievably bad traffic. The 2004 celebration cost the town $43,593. In 2005 the cost had doubled: the town spent $87,233 for police and other costs.

Apple Chill, for all its charm, had problems more serious than merely draining the treasury (DTH 4/15/05). Rising crime resulted in an increased police presence as the years drifted by: in 1993 there was a shootout after the festival, in 2003 alone 12 fights were reported, and two people were injured in a stabbing at the Local 506 in 2004.

Apple Chill 1979. [Yackety Yack]

All good things must come to an end, and the increasingly violent events caught up with the festival. In 2006 Chapel Hill chilled for the final time. Around 30,000 people (and 235 police officers) attended that year, unaware that they would be the final attendees to celebrate in Chapel Hill proper. That year officers arrested 11 people and issued 87 traffic citations, but that was only the beginning of the troubles. At an unsanctioned event called “After Chill,” the fun and games finally ended as the violence reached a head: three people were shot.

Traffic was another problem of Apple Chill; roads were congested so badly that not even ambulances could navigate. The News and Observer reported on one particularly shocking 2006 incident (N&O 4/25/06):

One of the shooting victims had to be taken from Franklin Street to UNC Hospitals on a John Deere Gator, which is like an all-terrain vehicle with a cab on the back that was retrofitted to hold a gurney.

Apple Chill 1990. [Yackety Yack]

The death of Apple Chill, though tragic, was also a reflection of Chapel Hill’s evolving culture. It was no longer a small town, and Mayor Kevin Foy was forced to acknowledge that fact even when facing resistance from many Chapel Hill locals. “The town is not the same as it was 35 years ago; as the town grows, as the region grows, we have to be willing to change.”

Despite being ousted from Chapel Hill, Apple Chill events can still be found hosted in other cities (though the Spoonerism of a name makes a bit less sense as a result). From 2007 until 2010 the festival was held in Roxboro, NC. Since 2011 it has been held in Fayetteville.

 

References:

Apple Chill Cloggers

“Chapel Hill Town Council Passes Resolution To End Street Fair”

“Chapel Hill Votes to Kill Apple Chill”

“Police: Chapel Hill Festival Shootings Probably Gang-Related”

The Daily Tar Heel (articles cited above)

The Yackety Yack

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