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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UNC Students Study Nike, 1998

Daily Tar Heel, 29 April 1998.

In the mid 1990s, Nike and other apparel companies drew criticism for labor practices in overseas factories they owned or used. UNC students and faculty were at the heart of the debate in the spring of 1998 when an entire class looked at Nike and its role in the global economy.

UNC began its relationship with Nike in 1993, when it signed its first agreement with the company to provide shoes and other athletic apparel for Carolina athletes and coaches. It was a new era for the basketball team in particular, which had worn Converse shoes since the 1960s.

When the University began negotiating a renewal of the contract a few years later, students began to bring up concerns about Nike’s labor practices. In the summer of 1997, student Marion Traub Warner started the Nike Awareness Campaign to educate other students about concerns over Nike’s labor practices. This was not just a UNC issue. Other universities with apparel deals with Nike, including Michigan, Ohio State, and the University of California, collaborated with an independent study of working conditions in factories used by Nike. In the fall of 1997, business students at Dartmouth released a study of pay rates at factories in Indonesia and Vietnam. Workers were found to be poorly paid and subject to dangerous environmental conditions.

Inspired by UNC student interest and an opportunity to study and learn from a current, global issue, UNC faculty members Richard Andrews, Nick Didow, and James Peacock offered a class in the Spring semester 1998 entitled “Economics, Ethics, and Impacts of the Global Economy: The Nike Example.”

The course drew national media attention, including a mention on ESPN. At the end of the semester, the faculty arranged for a staff member from Nike to be present for the students’ final presentations, which included recommendations for the company. They were all surprised when the company representative turned out to be Nike CEO Phil Knight. Nike took steps to address labor concerns in its factories and the University continued to renew its apparel contracts with Nike.

This topic and the class are covered at length in a new collection in the University Archives. The collection includes materials gathered and saved by Dr. Raymond (“Pete”) Andrews. It is a terrific resource for anyone interested in studying labor practices of apparel companies in the 1990s and the ways that college students at UNC and around the country helped to engage and possibly influence the practices of a major international corporation.

UNC faculty and students with Nike CEO Phil Knight (third from left), 1998. From the Richard Andrews Collection on The Nike Class, UNC University Archives.

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Test your UNC History Knowledge!

For the last two years, the University Archives has collaborated with Linda’s Bar and Grill on Franklin Street to host a round of UNC history-themed trivia during the first week of classes. How would you do? Test your knowledge with the questions below, then check out the answers here.

1. Eight of the buildings currently in use on the UNC campus were originally built before the Civil War. Can you name at least five? 

2. Only two U.S. Presidents have studied at Carolina. James K. Polk, who graduated in 1818, is the only UNC graduate to go on to become President. Who is the other future President who took classes at UNC? Hint: he spent one summer taking classes at the UNC School of Law in 1938. 

3. In the 1920s, students often complained about the noise coming from the basement of Caldwell Building. What was the source of the noise? 

  • Practices by the UNC Mandolin and Guitar Club 
  • Mysterious yells and chants from Order of the Gimghoul ceremonies 
  • Barking and howling from lab animals used in Medical School courses 
  • Loud hammering and clanking from the UNC blacksmith shop

4. In the early 1990s when basketball coach Dean Smith decided that the Tar Heels needed a new look, what local fashion designer did he turn to for help redesigning the team’s uniforms? 

5. Which well-known author is not a UNC alumnus? 

  • Tom Wolfe, author of The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities 
  • Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House series 
  • Sarah Dessen, author of Saint Anything and other popular young adult novels. 
  • Walker Percy, author of The Moviegoer and Lost in the Cosmos 

6. The design of the Old Well was modeled after a similar structure in what country? 

  • England 
  • France 
  • Italy 
  • Greece 

7. In 1965, UNC students were frustrated with the poor performance of the basketball team and blamed the young coach, Dean Smith. How did they express their dissatisfaction? 

  • They started a petition calling for Smith’s firing. 
  • They toilet-papered Smith’s house. 
  • They wrote letters to former coach Frank McGuire, urging him to come back to UNC. 
  • They hanged Smith in effigy. 

8. Captain Johnston Blakeley is believed to be the first UNC alumnus to be killed in military service. In what war was he killed? 

9. In 2006, UNC was the first predominantly-white university to name a building in honor of someone formerly enslaved on campus. Name the building and the man for whom it was named. 

10. Every October 12th, the University celebrates “University Day” in honor of an important event that happened on that day in 1793. What was it? 

11. Who was the first student to attend UNC?  

12. Which of UNC’s varsity athletic programs has the most NCAA championship wins? 

13. UNC has 5 buildings named after members of the same family. What is the family? 

14. What UNC sports team was, for a time, known as the “White Phantoms?” 

15. In the 1970s, the “High Noon Society” regularly met on Fridays at the Bell Tower. For what purpose? 

16. How many students were in UNC’s first graduating class? Hint: Not many. 

17. In 1951, the first four African American students were admitted to UNC. They were graduate students in what program? 

18. In 1935, UNC president Frank Porter Graham proposed a plan to reform intercollegiate athletics, which was met with immediate backlash. Which of the following was not part of the Graham Plan? 

  • Eliminated athletic scholarships 
  • Made first-year students ineligible to participate in varsity athletics 
  • Prohibited students from missing class for games 
  • Banned recruiting 

19. In 1852, UNC completed a building that would serve a dual purpose as a library and ballroom. It was later used as a performance venue. What is the name of that building now? 

20. According to a Daily Tar Heel report, “Carmichael auditorium oozed steamy sexuality” during this late musical artist’s 1983 performance. 

Check your answers here!

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Noteworthy Firsts: Lenoir Chambers

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

Lenoir Chambers was one of the first three Carolina alumni, along with W. Horace Carter and Vermont C. Royster, to receive the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

He graduated from Virginia’s Woodberry Forest School in 1910 and received an A.B. degree from The University of North Carolina in 1914. He then studied at the Columbia University School of Journalism from 1916 to 1917. After working on the Washington staff of the New Republic, he served overseas during World War I as a first lieutenant of infantry with the 52nd Infantry, Sixth Division. After the war, Chambers directed UNC’s news bureau until 1921, when he joined the Greensboro Daily News.

Chambers was married to Roberta Burwell Strudwick in 1928. They had a daughter, Elizabeth Lacy, in addition to a son from Ms. Chambers’ first marriage, Robert Strudwick Glenn.

In 1929, Chambers became associate editor of the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk under editor Louis I. Jaffe. Chambers became editor of the Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch in 1944 and editor of the Virginian-Pilot in 1950, after Jaffe’s death. He was also the author of the biography Stonewall Jackson (1959) and Salt Water and Printer’s Ink (1967), a history of newspapers in the Norfolk, VA area.

Chambers was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his series of 12 editorials on the school integration problem in Virginia. He was very opposed to segregation, much to the surprise of those who knew him as a North Carolinian and the biographer of a Confederate general. His series in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot began with “The Year Virginia Closed the Schools,” published January 1, 1959.

Lenoir Chambers in 1914. [From the Yackety Yack yearbook, 1914].

The story is this: in 1958, Virginia closed the doors of a Warren County high school in Front Royal and two schools in Charlottesville. Perhaps most personally to Chambers, six schools in Norfolk were closed. The reason? To avoid desegregating them. With this action, Chambers wrote, the state denied nearly 13,000 children “the kind of education which the people of Virginia had in mind when they wrote… their Constitution.” This first editorial ended with a call to action:

The question Virginians must ask themselves on this New Year’s Day is what they can, and will, do in 1959 to recover from the tragedy of 1958.

The final editorial of the series was “The Year Virginia Opened the Schools,” published on the final day of 1959. Thoughtful and sober, it too ends with a challenge:

But the old years of impracticality, unconstitutionalism, and futility are on the way out. If Virginia can produce more willingness to face the facts and fresh qualities of initiative and leadership in dealing with them, the year the state opened the schools can lead to a new year of hope.

Between the poles defined by those two editorials, much changed in Virginia. Resistance to desegregation crumbled in the face of public school teachers, angry parents, and complaints by business owners. Eventually peaceful desegregation, on a limited scale, took place.

Chambers retired in 1961 and afterward continued to write and lecture and to serve on many civic and historical boards, including the Society of Newspaper Editors, the Virginia Historical Society, and the National Conference of Editorial Writers. He passed away in 1970, but Robert Mason’s letter nominating him for the Pulitzer is an admirable tribute to his spirit.

He never wavered. He wasted no time on the fiction of what might have been or might be. When some of his colleagues of the Virginia press at last joined him in his view, he welcomed them warmly, and he did not chide them for the lateness of their education.

It is not too much to say, I am persuaded, that Lenoir Chambers has done more, and under conditions more vexing and longer sustained, to give logic and direction to Virginia, and to the whole South, in the school problem than any other editor.

Many of Chambers’ papers are preserved in the Southern Historical Collection at Wilson Library.

Sources and Further Reading:

Lenoir Chambers Papers (#3827), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Lenoir Chambers Wins the Pulitzer Prize!The Virginian-Pilot May 2, 2013

Salt Water and Printers Ink. Lenoir Chambers. The University Of North Carolina, 2011.

Stonewall Jackson. Lenoir Chambers. Broadfoot Pub. Co., 1988.

Yackety Yack, 1914

 

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Noteworthy Firsts: Dr. William Alexander Darity, Sr.

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

Image result for Dr. William Alexander Darity, Sr. unc

Darity in 2011. [From University of Massachusetts-Amherst].

Dr. William Alexander Darity, Sr. was born January 15, 1924, in East Flat Rock, North Carolina. He was born to Aden Randall and Elizabeth Smith Darity, neither of whom had an education past 6th grade. Nonetheless, Darity went on to pursue a collegiate education. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Shaw University and his Master’s of Science in Public Health from North Carolina Central University.

In June 1964, he became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in what is now the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior, an accomplishment that only took him only two years to complete. His thesis was titled Contraceptive Education: The Relative Cultural and Social Factors Related to Applied Health Education with Special Reference to Oral Contraceptives.

Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Darity accumulated 10 years of international experience with the World Health Organization, where he focused on malaria eradication. He also spent two years working with The North Carolina Fund, an anti-poverty agency. Afterwards, in 1965, Darity joined the University of Massachusetts-Amherst faculty; there were only three full-time faculty members in the public health department when he joined. Darity also helped to found the Black Caucus of Health Workers of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in the late 1960s. He became head of the department in 1968 and was named dean of the School of Health Sciences in September 1973.  Immediately before his appointment at University of Massachussetts-Amherst, Darity served as Director of Program Development for the North Carolina Fund, Inc. (a statewide, privately funded, non-profit, anti-poverty organization). 

Darity in 1974. [From Gillings School of Global Public Health].

In 1977 he received a Distinguished Service Award from the UNC School of Public Health Alumni Association, and he served as a member of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees from 1985 and 1991. In 1996 UNC named him a distinguished alumnus. In 2014 he was inducted into the Golden Rams Society, a group for alumni who matriculated at the University 50 or more years ago.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute, one of Darity’s final research efforts at University of Massachussetts-Amherst was both extensive and important. He served as the principal investigator for a $3.4 million, five-year research study on smoking and cancer in black populations; the study explored the multitude of factors that lead to smoking and the accompanying health risks among low-income black communities.

After retirement, he continued to use his influence to do good. After his urging upon his retirement, the UoM-Amherst Division of Public Health became a School of Public Health with its own dean. The Division of Nursing also became a School of Nursing with its own dean. Moreover, he served as senior associate and deputy director for the Asia and the Near East for the Population Council of New York. He passed away in 2015 at age 91.

Sources:

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