The Black Arts Festival, 1972-1981

There are many forms of protest and one of them is the uninhibited celebration of your culture and the artistic achievements of your peers. Last month at the Project STAND (Student Activism Now Documented) symposium in Atlanta, one of the student panelists emphasized the necessity for uplifting depictions of black joy in addition to recognizing some of the struggles of activism. The Black Arts Festival, held by the Black Student Movement from 1972 to 1981, is an example of such joy.

Blue Poster Announcing Events

1975 Black Arts Festival Poster [Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, University Archives]

Called by 1973 Cultural Coordinator Algenon Marbley, “soul-stirring events” that “exemplify our culture through song, dance and drama,” the Black Arts Festival was an explosion of performances, workshops and lectures that featured artists not only from on campus, but throughout the United States. (Marbley, 1973)

Letter on BSM letterhead

Letter from Marbley to Chancellor Taylor [Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, University Archives]

The annual festival happened from 1972 to 1981, and featured performances from Black Student Movement subgroups like The Readers (now The Ebony Readers/Onyx Theatre), Opeyo Dancers (now Opeyo! Dance Company) and the Black Student Movement Gospel Choir. The festival was lauded as an event where black students could come together and express themselves through performance.

The relationships and roots of Black American art in the African diaspora were consistent themes in the 1973 festival. While performance seems to be the dominant form of expression in each year’s festival, the week-long series of events also featured panel discussions and classes. The festival in 1973 included a conversation between Chapel Hill’s first black mayor, Howard Lee, and activist Owusu Saudaki (Mills, 1973). Often, the BSM reached out to communities near UNC and workshops were taught by Durham’s Ebony Dance Theatre and the Bowie State Dancers (Starr, 1979).

In 1975, students expressed concern for continuing the festival, and conversations were had about how a black student organization on a predominantly while campus could thrive in terms of funding and administrative support. The festival was put on hiatus between 1976 and 1978, during which time the organization focused on other concerns like recruitment of black faculty and students (Carolina Union Records).

Speaker Contract with Black Panther Party

1974 Contract with Black Panther Party Speakers’ Bureau [Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, University Archives]

Recruitment Recommendations Text

BSM Recommendations for Recruitment 1975 [Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, University Archives]

Distressed by the lack of black artists coming to Chapel Hill, members of the BSM worked to revive the festival (Worsley, 1979). In 1979, black film and theater legend Cicely Tyson was invited to appear at Memorial Hall. That same year, co-sponsored by the Carolina Union, the award-winning and Grammy nominated New York Community Choir performed.

In 1980, the festival saw much less of an audience outside of the 300 audience members who came to support the Freshman Bloc, a skit-based variety show. The festival continued in 1981, with Wanda Montgomery as Cultural Coordinator. (Blossom, 1981). This is seemingly the last year, because in 1982, the BSM continued to fight for funding. The Black Arts Festival was under scrutiny, funding was cut and some of the events were added to Black History Month (Black Ink, 1982).

There are some occurrences of week-long events similar to the Black Arts festival after this. In 1991, an African American culture week called “African Americans in the Arts,” sponsored by the Black Cultural Centers Special Programming Committee, featured the Opeyo! Dancers (Mankowski, 1991). In the early 1990s, African American Culture Week is still mentioned in Black Ink. The Black Student Movement and its subgroups continue to produce, sponsor and curate performances, continuing their legacy as an organization that uplifts black joy.

References:

Black Student Movement in the Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40128, University Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Blossom, Teresa (1981). “BSM Black Arts Festival Arrives Mar 18-25”. Black Ink. Retrieved from
http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/2015236558/1981-03-17/ed-1/seq-3/

Mankowski, Melissa (1991). “Opeyo! Dancers Mix Modern with Traditional Steps”. The Daily Tar Heel. Retrieved from http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn92073228/1991-09-27/ed-1/seq-5/

Marbley, Algenon. (1973). “BACF Affect Apathy”. The Black Ink. Retrieved from http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/2015236558/1973-04-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Mills, Janice. (1973). “Realm of Black Arts Explored”. The Black Ink. Retrieved from http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/2015236558/1973-04-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Starr, Mary Beth. (1979). “Notable Groups Reflect Culture in Performance”. The Daily Tar Heel. Retrieved from http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn92073228/1979-03-23/ed-1/seq-12/

Williams, Linda (1974). “’74 Festival Set” Black Ink. Retrieved from http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/2015236558/1974-03-01/ed-1/seq-1/

Worsley, Carolyn. (1979). “A Week of Arts, Entertainment.” The Daily Tar Heel. Retrieved from
http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn92073228/1979-03-23/ed-1/seq-12/

Unknown Contributor. (1982). “Choir Guilty as Charged” Black Ink. Retrieved from http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/2015236558/1982-04-29/ed-1/seq-2/

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Records Retention Schedule Updated

The UNC-Chapel Hill Records Retention and Disposition Schedule underwent a routine revision process in 2018 and the newly updated Schedule is now available (effective April 8, 2019).  The new Schedule document is available on our Records Management Guide. If you have any questions, please contact us. Below we’ve outlined some of the major changes you’ll see in this newest edition of the Schedule.

Appendix policy on managing email

This policy reflects a new approach to selecting and retaining email at the University. It was developed in consultation with the State Archives, University Counsel’s office, and UNC Information and Technology Services.

This approach is based on the Capstone Approach developed by the National Archives and Records Administration. It enables us to collect email of permanent historical value based on an employee’s position and function rather than the content of individual email messages. Under this approach, email records created and received by employees in selected administrative positions will automatically be retained as permanent records in the University Archives. All other email accounts will be retained for a period of five years after the employee leaves the University and then discarded. All employees still have a responsibility to evaluate emails, like other record formats, based on the Records Retention Schedule and individuals not in “Capstone positions” can still work with us to transfer permanent records if needed.  

Document structure changes

Due to some changes to terminology and series headings the Schedule was re-alphabetized and reordered. You may find that a series you were used to using has changed location in the document. This does not necessarily mean the content of the series has changed.

New navigation has been introduced to the PDF document. The table of contents are now links and can lead directly to the desired section. Every page includes a “back to top” link at the bottom of the page that leads back to the table of contents. We hope this helps to make the document easier to use.

Significant content changes

1.24: Insurance Records

Changed retention from permanent to destroy in office after 6 years. Changes will bring this schedule in line with the statewide college and university schedule and the State Archives.

11.13: Disciplinary Records

Longer retention period as proposed by University Counsel’s office.

11.34: Immigration Filings

Revision as proposed by UNC Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

11.46: Search Records

Removing requirement to retain records of administrative searches permanently after consultation with State Archives.

Required retention period for applications from unsuccessful student candidates (11.46b) changed from 1 year to 2 years to match statewide requirements.

12: Public Safety Records

Several changes made in this section in order to ensure compliance with Clery Act record-keeping requirements.

13: Sponsored Projects and Research Records

There are many changes in this section, all suggested by the UNC-CH Vice Chancellor for Research and University Counsel. Specific changes include:

    • 13.2: Animal Research Records: Retention period reduced from 7 years to 3 years to match NIH and other federal guidelines.
    • 13.11 and 13.12: Research Misconduct Reviews and Scientific Review Committee Records: New sections.

14.17: International Student Records

Changes as proposed by UNC Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

18.1: Disciplinary Records

Changes as proposed by UNC Equal Opportunity/Compliance office.

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“Proving a Secret is Difficult”: Zora Neale Hurston at UNC

Image of the Zora Neale Hurston Hall plaque created by UNC MFA candidate Jeanine Tatlock.

On May 28, 2015, the UNC Board of Trustees voted to remove the name of Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate Army colonel William Saunders from a campus building and rename it “Carolina Hall.” Additionally, the Board voted to place a 16-year moratorium on renaming campus buildings. The removal of Saunders’ name came after decades of work by student activists on campus, particularly the collaborative efforts of student organizations (the Black Student Movement, Real Silent Sam Coalition, and the Campus Y) in 2014.

Activists had urged the administration to rename the building for renowned black anthropologist and novelist Zora Neale Hurston. They cited a belief that Hurston attended UNC as a “secret student” in 1940, more than a decade before the first African American students were admitted to Carolina.

Even after the Trustees’ decision, student activists continued to celebrate Hurston’s life and call for a new name for Carolina Hall. In the fall of 2015, student activists held an “opening ceremony” for Hurston Hall. A statement by the Real Silent Sam coalition acknowledged the importance of naming the building for Hurston: “We named this building after Zora Neale Hurston precisely because racist and sexist admissions policies excluded her and other Black women from UNC.”

In March 2017, UNC MFA candidate Jeanine Tatlock added an additional plaque to the building, naming it Zora Neale Hurston Hall and acknowledging that “against all odds and despite a system that did everything in its power to keep [Hurston] from attending college she went on to become one of America’s most celebrated authors.”

From what we can tell, the Board of Trustees never collectively addressed the idea of renaming Saunders Hall for Zora Neale Hurston. However, in a letter to the Daily Tar Heel editor in 2017, UNC Trustee Alston Gardner argued that students never formally proposed the name change from Saunders to Hurston. Responding to the suggestion, Gardner wrote, “of course, proving a secret is difficult, so I applied a reasonableness test and came up short.” Many details of Zora Neale Hurston’s connection to Carolina are unclear, but the question of whether or not she was really a secret student here before UNC integrated in 1951 still remains on many of our minds. After an extensive search of resources in the Wilson Special Collections Library (and some from the University of Kansas’ Kenneth Spencer Research Library) we’ve established the following:

According to Cecelia Moore’s The South as a Folk Play: The Carolina Playmakers, Regional Theatre and the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939, in 1934, Zora Neale Hurston met playwright and UNC professor Paul Green and Carolina Playmakers founder Frederick Koch at the National Folk Festival in St. Louis, Missouri (p. 167). Recruited by Koch, Zora Neale Hurston came to North Carolina in 1939 to assume a theater teaching position at North Carolina College for Negroes in Durham (now North Carolina Central University)(Moore, p. 154).

Daily Tar Heel, 7 October 1939.

Daily Tar Heel, 7 October 1939, describing Hurston’s presentation at the Carolina Dramatic Association.

Hurston is now best known for her folktales and novels telling black stories, but in the 1930s she was invested in writing and producing folk plays: plays that highlighted everyday black life. On October 7, 1939, Hurston spoke at the fall meeting of the Carolina Dramatic Association, a statewide organization of theater directors and educators. The group met in Playmakers Theater on UNC’s campus. The following day, the Daily Tar Heel quoted her as telling the group, “Our drama must be like us, or it doesn’t exist.” She wanted to create theater that better exhibited the fullness of black life. Green, drawing from the legacy of the Carolina Playmakers under Frederick Koch, was similarly interested in writing folk plays.  He wrote and produced many works and won a Pulitzer Prize in May 1927 for the play In Abraham’s Bosom

Daily Tar Heel article describing the Sunday night Radio Writing and Production course, lists Zora Neale Hurston among other students, March 30, 1940. 

In the spring semester of 1940, Hurston joined Paul Green’s small theater group. The March 30, 1940 issue of the Daily Tar Heel lists Zora Neale Hurston among the students in Green’s “Radio Writing and Production” course, meeting Sunday nights in Caldwell Hall. A class of that name does not appear in the catalog for the 1939-1940 academic year, suggesting that it may not have been officially offered through the University. Several of the class participants, including Hurston, were not enrolled at UNC at the time. There is also conflicting information about where they met: Hurston biographer Robert Hemenway writes in Zora Neale Hurston: a Literary Biography that they moved to Green’s home due to a complaint from a white student (p. 255), while Laurence G. Avery in A Southern Life: Letters of Paul Green, 1916-1981 says the meetings were always at Green’s house (p. 312).  In a 1971 interview with Robert Hemenway, Paul Green said they often had to work “sort of specially separate from the class,” and she would come to his house quite often.

Although Paul Green was the instructor for the course, his relationship with Hurston appeared to be more collaborative. In one energetic letter, Hurston writes to Green imploring him to send someone to record a spiritual she found at a black church in South Carolina. The spiritual could help them in the writing of their play, with the working title John De Conqueror. In the letter, she says, “Now, don’t sit there Paul Green, just thinking! Do something!” (p. 312). She feared a fellow student would record the spirituals and sell them before they could use it in their work. Unfortunately, the recordings weren’t made, and John De Conqueror was never finished.   

Daily Tar Heel article describing the Sunday night Radio Writing and Production course, lists Zora Neale Hurston among other students, March 30, 1940.

Despite not being officially recognized as a student, the spirit of the plaque students placed on Carolina Hall two years ago is still represented in Zora Neale Hurston’s abundant life as a black scholar. Her work initially received mixed reviews, but by the time she arrived in North Carolina, she had already earned a bachelors degree from Barnard College in 1928 and published several noteworthy books—including one of her most popular works, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Paul Green said in that 1971 interview that he remembered Hurston driving around campus in her “little red sports car” with a “jaunty little tam o shanter” on her head. Students would “jeer” as she drove by. On one occasion, he recalled, even the professors mocked her — she responded by calling “Hi, freshmen! Hi, freshmen!” It seems she never backed down from a challenge.

As Gardner noted, “proving a secret” is a challenge, and one archivists face often. Reference archivists frequently receive questions about aspects of campus history that, for many reasons, went undocumented or unpreserved. It is a struggle to find answers and adequate evidence to support them. It all depends on what has been collected and preserved. When we find these gaps in the historical record, it is frustrating but encourages us to think more deeply about what we’re collecting now and its uses in the future. In the case of Zora Neale Hurston at UNC and many parts of university history that we take extra time to research, we relish in the small crumbs we have but find ourselves hungry for more information.

Learn More: “Saunders Hall” essay in Reclaiming the University of the People: Racial Justice Movements at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Charlotte Fryar, 2019.

Sources:

Carolina Hall History

The Daily Tar Heel

Frederick H. Koch Papers, 1893-1979.

Letter to the Editor of the Daily Tar Heel

Paul Green Interview, 1971, Personal Papers of Robert E. Hemenway, PP 487, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Paul Green Papers, 1880-2009

The South as a Folk Play: The Carolina Playmakers, Regional Theatre and the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939 [in the Carolina Digital Repository]

A Southern Life: Letters of Paul Green, 1916-1981

UNC T-Shirt Archive

University Archives Web Archives

William Laurence Saunders Papers, 1712-1907.

Zora Neale Hurston: a Literary Biography

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Introduction to the History of Performing Arts at UNC Library Guide

UNC’s campus culture and the lives of students can be examined through the sometimes exciting, sometimes fraught lens of the performing arts.  From controversial visiting artists to the joyful and attentive work of student and faculty artists on campus, performance has played a major part in representing the sentiment of any given time in UNC’s history.

A sample of resources you might use for research and curiosity about UNC’s relationship with performance is now available through the History of the Performing Arts at UNC library guide.

Students and Teacher in Music Classroom

Music Department, circa 1940s-1969 [UNC at Chapel Hill Image Collection, Folder P0004/0694]

Following the resources in this guide, you may come across some interesting facts:

There are several sketches, drafts of music scores and notes from Paul Green’s work with Richard Wright on the theater adaptation of Native Son. Native Son is one of Wright’s most well-known works and was staged in 1941 by Orson Welles “with imagination and force” (Atkinson, 1941).

Preliminary Draft of Native Son [Paul Green Papers, 1880-2009, Folder 3278cb]

 

-Some performing arts groups on campus have been around longer than you might think. The Opeyo! Dance Company, founded by Herman Mixon in 1971, continues to participate in outreach. They still host Dancing for Hope in the Fall semester, a benefit offering donations to charitable organizations.

-Carolina Performing Arts’ records are surprisingly helpful for theater architects! Folders of information provide insight into the specifications required for remodeling Memorial Hall. The correspondence related to theater acoustics and audience seating are as architectural as they are performance-oriented in nature.

Visitors entering Memorial Hall

Transformed Memorial Hall [Carolina Performing Arts Records, 1990s-2014, Digital Folder DF-40428/2]

Using the Guide:

Kick off your research by using the Home tab as a directory to the subject, department, organization or medium you are exploring. For example, if you’re looking for the work of a playwright who was a professor at UNC, check for resources under the Academic Departments tab. If you’re looking for general photographs, ephemera or video, check the Visual Materials tab. You can access the library guide here.

Happy searching!

 

 

References:

Atkinson, Brooks (1941). “‘Native Son’ by Paul Green and Richard Wright, Put on by Orson Welles and John Houseman”. New York Times. Retrieved 10 April 2019 from https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1941/03/25/85265284.pdf

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Behind the Scenes: Workflows Development Bit by Bit

Born-digital accessioning, processing, and ingest work has been handled in a variety of ways at Wilson Special Collections Library since about 2010. This post is about our most recent development in the evergreen quest to optimize and improve archival workflows. Over the past two years, improving workflows for born-digital materials at Wilson Library has often meant centralizing and standardizing.  

Image shows a 3.5" floppy disk, yellow zip disk, 5.25" floppy disk, CD, USB thumb drive, and external hard drive.

These are some of the most common types of born-digital storage media that we process.

If you are an archivist, you might wonder, why centralize? Over the past couple of years there have been calls for moving away from the lone digital archivist model in our institutions. This can be a beneficial staffing move, but I also think it depends a lot on institutional context. At Wilson Library, we are not necessarily trying to centralize the work to one person, but are striving to use a consistent workflow across units and make a portion of the workflow (the really technical bits) centralized with a smaller number of people. The idea is that it will be easier to implement the workflows with a smaller number of staff who have capacity to become experts in the technical workflow. Other bits of the workflow like acquisition or description still happen elsewhere in our building wide workflows.  

So, what have we done so far to work toward this goal? 

One thing was the creation of more detailed workflow documentation and training resources that could be easily available to all staff. This included filling in some workflow gaps between acquisition and ingest, creating more documentation of the software and hardware available that addressed why and when to use various tools, creating a metadata template for archival folders in the repository, training resources, and more. The documentation was then compiled into a website for easier navigation and use. The review and creation of documentation also presented an opportunity to think more about our goals in technical processing of born-digital materials. In an effort to reduce focus on specific tools, I drafted some digital preservation statements the underpin our workflow goals and development. Hopefully these statements can guide us no matter what tools we use in the future. 

Image shows a cubicle space with two computer workstations, whiteboard, and a small round table

The Digital Preservation Lab is currently located in this fun cubicle space.

Another important development was making the hardware and software acquired over the years by the University Archives more available to all Wilson collecting units. This process evolved into the development of our Digital Preservation Lab and centralized service. Instead of each Wilson Library department developing their own born-digital workflows, staff can now bring born-digital accessions to the Lab where one of three dedicated staff (myself and two graduate students) will prepare the materials for appraisal and ingest to preservation storage. This has greatly reduced the number of people who need to learn the entirety of the pre-ingest and ingest workflows. It is also helping to highlight non-technical aspect of the born-digital workflow that need further assessment and development. 

We still have more to do to integrate born-digital workflows into other accessioning and processing workflows—and of course there is always the on-going process of planning and managing the big picture of digital preservation over time—but we are well on our way!

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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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