New Names on the Landscape

Zora Neale Hurston Hall sign in the design of a plaque.
Sign for Zora Neale Hurston Hall, created by UNC art student Jeanine Tatlock in 2017.

In the wake of the recent decision by the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees to rescind the 16-year moratorium on building renaming that was enacted in 2015, many members of the UNC community have suggested potential new namesakes for campus buildings and public spaces.

In this post, we’re gathering some of the names that have come up most often and sharing suggested resources for learning more. We’ll update the post with new names and resources based on the feedback we receive.

Pauli Murray

Pauli Murray’s name often comes up in discussions about potential new namesakes for UNC buildings. An influential and inspirational author, activist, lawyer, and Episcopal priest, Murray had lifelong ties to UNC. She was a descendant of university trustee James Strudwick Smith and was related to benefactor Mary Ruffin Smith (namesake of Smith Building at UNC). Murray applied to attend graduate school at UNC in 1938 and was rejected because she was an African American. Four decades later, in recognition of Murray’s exceptional career, UNC offered Murray an honorary degree. She ultimately declined, citing the university’s continued failure to provide equal opportunities to Black students. UNC would not be the first University to name a building for Murray. In 2017 Yale University dedicated Pauli Murray College, a new residential building.

Suggested Resources:

henry owl

Henry Owl, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, became the first Native American student to attend UNC when he enrolled to attend graduate school in 1928. He graduated the following year with a master’s degree in history. Owl’s thesis, The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Before and After Removal, is an important history of the Cherokee.

Suggested Resources:

james cates

Plaque honoring James Cates
This plaque honoring James Cates was installed in the Pit by student activists in February 2019. Photo by Sarah Lundgren, Daily Tar Heel.

Chapel Hill native James Cates was murdered by a white supremacist biker gang in 1970 following a dance on campus. After he was stabbed in the Pit, crucial minutes passed before Cates received medical attention, a delay many on the scene attributed to the inaction of local police. Cates’s killers were ultimately acquitted by an Orange County jury. In 1971 students rallied to protest Cates’s killing. In 2019, while the University community continued to debate the toppling of the statue on top of the Confederate monument, student activists installed a plaque commemorating Cates in the Pit. The memorial was soon removed by campus officials.

Suggested Resources:

Zora Neale Hurston

Banner reading "Hurston Hall" displayed over the door of Saunders Hall in 2015.
Hurston Hall banner on (then) Saunders Hall, April 2015. Photo by Stephanie Lamm, Daily Tar Heel.

In the mid 2010s, UNC student and faculty activists urged campus administrators to rename Saunders Hall for author Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston had a brief connection to UNC through playwright and faculty member Paul Green. Hurston visited campus many times in the late 1930s. She spoke at a drama conference on campus in 1939 and participated in a playwrighting workshop with UNC students at Green’s house. The UNC Board of Trustees ultimately removed Saunders’s name from the building, but neglected to honor Hurston, choosing the new name of Carolina Hall.

Suggested Resources:

Wilson Caldwell

Wilson Swain Caldwell was a 19th-century educator, public official, and university employee. He was enslaved by UNC President David Lowry Swain and was the son of November Caldwell, who was enslaved by the first university president, Joseph Caldwell. After the Civil War, Caldwell helped to found schools for Black students and became the first African American elected official in Orange County when he was elected Justice of the Peace. After the end of Reconstruction and the establishment of Jim Crow laws restricting opportunities for Black North Carolinians, Caldwell returned to UNC to work as the head janitor on campus. He is memorialized, along with his father and two other enslaved workers on campus, by an obelisk in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.

Suggested Resources:

  • “Finding Wilson Caldwell: The Study of Slavery at UNC.” Carolina Alumni Review, January 2020. [Online access available to General Alumni Association members.]
  • “Honoring an Unsung Legacy.” University Communications, 27 February 2017. https://www.unc.edu/discover/honoring-unsung-legacy/
  • Kemp P. Battle, Sketch of the Life and Character of Wilson Caldwell, 1895. https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/items/show/3640. [Note: This account by University President Battle uses condescending language and may not be reliable in its account of Caldwell’s words and thoughts, but it is useful for learning some of the details of Caldwell’s life.]

Elizabeth Brooks and Mary Smith

Elizabeth Brooks and Mary Smith were UNC employees and activists. While working at Lenoir dining hall in the late 1960s, Brooks and Smith advocated for improved pay and working conditions for food service workers at UNC. When these demands were not met, they led a strike that drew the attention of campus and state leaders and ultimately resulted in a change in supervision, improved pay, and the establishment of a statewide minimum wage. After UNC outsourced food service to a private company and working conditions failed to improve, Brooks and Smith were active in a second strike. Their efforts, in collaboration with members of the Black Student Movement and other campus allies, have served as an inspiration for future generations of activists and campus workers as they continue to work toward improved pay and treatment for the University’s front-line employees. 

Suggested Resources:

James Walker, Jr.

James Walker, Jr. was one of the first African American students to attend UNC. A North Carolina native, Army veteran, and alumnus of North Carolina Central University, Walker’s application to attend law school at UNC was initially rejected because of the University’s policy to refuse admission to African Americans. Walker joined the lawsuit that eventually led to the integration of graduate programs at UNC in 1951 and enrolled that summer. While at UNC, Walker fought to integrate social spaces on campus, pushing for the removal of segregated seating in Kenan Stadium and appealing to the Chancellor when university administration refused to allow an integrated dance on campus. After graduation, Walker had a long and successful legal career combined with a continued commitment to Civil Rights activism. In 2019, the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies announced a plan to commission a portrait of Walker, who was the first Black member of  the Societies, UNC’s oldest student organization. 

Suggested Resources:

slayton evans, jr.

Slayton Evans, Jr. was the first African American faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill. A native of Mississippi and alumnus of Tougaloo College, Evans was hired at UNC in 1974 and remained on the faculty until he passed away in 2001. He was named Kenan professor of Chemistry in 1992. Evans developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher and mentor and earned multiple university and professional awards throughout his career.

Suggested Resources:

 

Did UNC Really Lose to Wake Forest in 1888?

In the University Archives, our work often has us viewing contemporary events with an eye toward the past. So while we look ahead to Friday night’s football game between UNC and Wake Forest, we see it not just as an important matchup for the undefeated Tar Heels, but also a chance for Carolina to avenge its loss to Wake Forest on October 18, 1888, in the first football game played by UNC.

Or maybe not. We thought the facts were pretty clear when we looked at newspaper coverage of the game, which was played in Raleigh at the State Fair. The News and Observer mentioned the game in the following day’s paper as part of its coverage of the fair: 

Decidedly one of the most interesting features of the whole fair was the game of foot ball yesterday between Wake Forest and Chapel Hill, resulting in a victory for Wake Forest. The game was exciting and was played by excellent teams on both sides. It was witnessed by a tremendous crowd. The players were uniformed and were a skilled and active set of boys. (News and Observer, 19 October 1888).

Official records have the final score as a 6-4 in favor of Wake Forest. But the coverage of the game by UNC students tells a different story. 

At the time the game was played, there was no student newspaper (the Tar Heel was established five years later, in 1893). The primary student publication on campus was the University Magazine, a professionally-printed periodical that included essays, stories and poetry, and campus news. 

The University Magazine reported on the football game in its next issue, in an unsigned column called “The College World.” At first it seems to match the newspaper story: “A game of foot-ball was played at Raleigh during Fair week between the Wake Forest team and the University Soph. Class team, under a set of improvised rules. The score was two goals to one in favor of Wake Forest.” Then the story gets confusing. The Magazine report quotes the coverage in The Wake Forest Student, which seems to describe three different games (maybe they were three periods in the same game?). The response from the Magazine is pretty direct: 

No one objects to The Student’s exulting over the victory (?), if it can find anything in it to exult over, but it should be fairer towards its opponents. There were many more rules which were strange to the University than to the Wake Forest team. It was by these rules, unfair and peculiar, that Wake Forest got the credit of a victory . . .” (University Magazine, vol. 21, no. 2, 1888, p.85). 

The Magazine goes on to compare the game to the one played between UNC and Trinity College (predecessor to Duke University) a month later, which it called the first “scientific” game of football played in North Carolina. It’s certainly understandable that the very first game of what was a new sport to all involved would result in some misunderstandings about the rules. As the debate continued in the student press, the Magazine remained adamant that UNC was the superior team and that the October 18, 1888 victory for Wake Forest did not count. By contrast, the student authors conceded that the UNC team was outplayed in a fair game against Trinity. 

The next issue of the Magazine continued the debate, responding at greater length to more claims from the Wake Forest student paper. It’s worth reading in its entirety. In closing, the author continued to insist that the game against Wake Forest did not count, writing:  

A fair-minded man likes to see merit win, whoever possesses it, and can admire it in an opponent. The University team has played but one game of foot-ball, and was then beaten fairly as this Magazine cheerfully acknowledged. It wished to show that, while in the game with Trinity merit won, in that on Thursday of Fair week it did not. (University Magazine, vol. 21, no. 3, 1889, p. 137). 

 While this was clearly a spirited debate at the time, history seems to have come down on the side of Wake Forest. Some long-lasting rivalries have disputed games in their past (see for example, Georgia-Florida), but there is no further record that we could find of the earliest UNC game being contested. In everything we have read online and in print, the October 18, 1888 loss to Wake Forest is widely credited as being UNC’s first football game. To be fair, the UNC and Wake Forest teams definitely played on that date, and the News and Observer report did not refer to it as a scrimmage or unofficial game. In an era well before the establishment of the NCAA or other governing bodies, the very idea of an “official” game would have been an unfamiliar concept. 

But the student authors of the Magazine were persistent in their claims. What do you think: does Wake Forest really deserve credit for their 1888 victory over Carolina? Will “Avenge 1888!” be the rallying cry that leads Mack Brown and the Tar Heels to victory tomorrow night? Here’s hoping so. Go Heels.

University Magazine, vol. 21, no. 2, 1888, p. 185.
University Magazine, vol. 21, no. 2, 1888, p. 185.
University Magazine, vol. 21, no. 3, 1889, p. 137
University Magazine, vol. 21, no. 3, 1889, p. 137

 

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.

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

 

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.

April 1968: Carolina Reacts to the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Daily Tar Heel headline reading "King Killed" in large letters
Headline from the Daily Tar Heel, 5 April 1968

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 – 50 years ago today – the reactions of UNC students were emblematic of the complex racial landscape at Carolina. Below is a timeline of events on campus in the week following the assassination.


April 4, 1968 

In an oral history conducted in 2015, alumnus John Sellars remembered the reaction on campus when students learned of Martin Luther King’s assassination: 

Senior yearbook portrait of John Sellars
John Sellars, from the 1971 Yackety Yack yearbook

The night that Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, I was in Hinton James, in my room, studying for class the next day. And all of a sudden I hear people running up and down the hallways, on the balconies, cheering. And so, I go outside to see what’s going on. And somebody says that Martin Luther King, Jr., just got assassinated. And it hit me that the reason for the cheering was because Martin Luther King, Jr., just got assassinated. Again, it gives you an idea of what the mood, what the attitude, what the social and racial structure was at UNC. Again, we’re talking about 1968.


April 5, 1968 

Approximately 60 African American students and local clergy held a memorial service on Polk Place followed by a meeting in Gerrard Hall. Speaking at the meeting, Black Student Movement President Preston Dobbins said, “Martin Luther King’s assassination is the very last time that a black man is going to be killed in this country without violent reaction” (Daily Tar Heel, 6 April 1968).

The Daily Tar Heel reported that approximately 30-40 black students, including Dobbins, walked down Franklin Street and through campus. They purchased several Confederate flags at a Franklin Street store and burned one on the sidewalk and the rest in front of the Kappa Alpha fraternity house.

After learning of violent protests around the country (including in Raleigh, where police used tear gas on student marchers), the Chapel Hill Police enact a voluntary curfew of 8:00pm, asking businesses to close early and suspending alcohol sales. (Daily Tar Heel, 7 April 1968)


People lining the sidewalk on Franklin Street. One holds a sign reading "Brotherhood and Human Dignity." Caption reads "Mourners Line Franklin Street."
From the Daily Tar Heel, 7 April 1968.

April 6, 1968 

Approximately 200 students and local residents line Franklin Street in a silent vigil honoring Dr. King (Daily Tar Heel, 7 April 1968).

 

 

 

 

 


From the Hugh Morton Photographic Collection, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive.

 April 7, 1968 

Early in the morning, the Confederate Monument (“Silent Sam”) is spray painted (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968).

Approximately 600 students march from Y Court to the First Baptist Church to pay tribute to Dr. King. Chancellor Sitterson and President Friday are part of the group (Daily Tar Heel, 9 April 1968).


First page of the program for an April 8, 1968 memorial service for Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial service program. From the Records of the Office of the Chancellor: J. Carlyle Sitterson (#40022), University Archives. Click the image above to read the full program.

April 8, 1968 

Approximately 2,000 people attended a memorial in honor of Dr. King at Memorial Hall (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968).

 Some students volunteer to clean the Confederate Monument, which was spray painted over the weekend. During the clean-up, two small Confederate flags are placed on the statue, but were removed after an administrator asked them to be taken down (Daily Tar Heel, 9 April 1968).


April 9, 1968 

African American students and approximately 90% of UNC’s African American non-academic workers staged a one-day walkout. Their absence forced a cut in many services across campus, with several dining halls having to close. The boycott was encouraged by Preston Dobbins and BSM to give people time to mourn and show respect to Dr. King. Chancellor Sitterson announced that employees could take a half-day off if they chose (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968).

A letter to the editor in the Daily Tar Heel criticizes King for taking breaking the law and inspiring violent protests. The author says that King’s assassination proves that “they who live by violence, die by it” (Daily Tar Heel, 9 April 1968) 


April 10, 1968 

Daily Tar Heel editorial criticizes the hypocrisy of the white moderates who attend the memorial services but do nothing to support civil rights and social justice for African Americans. On the same page, a letter to the editor criticizes the people who vandalized the Confederate monument, comparing them to King’s assassin (Daily Tar Heel, 10 April 1968). 

 

Exploring the History and Legacy of Slavery at the University of North Carolina

In 2005, the University Archives put on an exhibit on the history of slavery at UNC. The exhibit materials provided evidence of the use of enslaved laborers in the construction of early campus buildings and as servants for students and faculty, and showed how proceeds from the sale of slaves were used to finance the University. It was an important exhibit— one of the earliest of its kind—but it was only a first step.

After the exhibit came down, scholars and many UNC students have continued to explore the history and legacy of slavery at the University. Last semester, Professor Jim Leloudis led an undergraduate seminar focused on slavery at UNC. The students dug deep into the archives, looking through correspondence, account books, and campus and government records in search of documents that could help further our understanding of the history and legacy of slavery in the building and funding of the university from its founding in 1789 through the end of the Civil War.

This month, we will begin to share some of their findings. Caroline Newhall, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, has been sorting through the materials that the students in the undergraduate seminar uncovered and will be preparing short articles describing what they found and talking about the research process. As these articles are completed, we’ll share them on this blog. Caroline’s first post, about an 1829 runaway slave advertisement, was posted last week. Her work this semester is supported by the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History.

As with the 2005 exhibit, these articles will tell only a small part of the story of slavery at UNC. By sharing these documents and stories, we hope to provide a starting point and to encourage others, including faculty, researchers, family members, and especially students, to continue to explore the history and legacy of slavery at UNC.

Dean Smith Papers Now Available for Research in Wilson Library

Publicity photo for Smith’s biography, A Coach’s Life, first published in 1999. [Folder 129, Biography: Photographs of Dean Smith]
We are thrilled to announce that the personal papers of Dean Smith are now available for research in Wilson Library. Donated by Coach Smith’s family earlier this year, the papers include materials from his youth in Kansas, scrapbooks kept by his parents for many years, and files kept by Smith in his retirement. The collection offers the opportunity to learn more about Smith’s life and interests, his work after he left coaching, and the lasting impact he has had on his players, fellow coaches, and Carolina fans everywhere.

The papers contain materials going as far back as 1946, with a report Smith wrote on his hometown of Emporia, Kansas. (He got an A.) There is a program from the NCAA champion 1952 Kansas men’s basketball team, of which Smith was a member, along with copies of his yearbooks from the University of Kansas.

For those interested in learning more about Smith’s career at UNC, there is a wealth of information available in scrapbooks that were maintained by his parents over several decades. These include newspaper clippings and programs and are a great way to follow the progress of some of Smith’s legendary Tar Heel basketball teams.

The largest part of the collection is the files from Smith’s retirement office (as he often said to his correspondents, after retirement he still went to the office every morning, but he left whenever he felt like it). The retirement files include lots of correspondence with friends and coaches. Smith faced a seemingly endless number of invitations to speak and to accept awards. He accepted some, participating in ESPN’s 25th anniversary celebration and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year award. Perhaps of more personal importance, he traveled Kansas in 2001 to accept the Kansan of the Year award and returned again in 2007 for the 55th anniversary of the 1952 basketball team. His papers show that he kept up with many longtime friends and family members in Kansas.

Smith’s papers reflect his interest in faith and social issues, including a number of articles he was reading and discussing. There are a few files on political fundraising he participated in and a very interesting folder on discussions he had about running for U.S. Senate in 1990. The papers also include drafts of his autobiography, A Coach’s Life, first published in 1999, along with audio cassette recordings of interviews conducted with Smith by John Kilgo and Sally Jenkins, who collaborated with Smith on a revised edition of the book.

If you have questions about the collection, or if you’d like information about using the Dean Smith Papers, contact Wilson Library at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

Playmakers Repertory Company Playbills Now Available Online

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new digital collection that is certain to be of interest to the UNC community and theater lovers everywhere: Playbills from the first 40 years of the Playmakers Repertory Company are now available online.

The Playbills begin with the first shows from the company in 1975 and continue through 2016. (We’ll add the most recent season shortly).

From the Playbill for The Cherry Orchard, fall 1989.

We’ve digitized the full playbills, so you can see the cover artwork, cast lists, notes, and advertisements. The text of the playbills is also searchable by keyword.

I gave the digital collection a test run by doing a keyword search for Ray Dooley and then sorting the results by season. The top result was the Playbill for The Cherry Orchard from fall 1989, Dooley’s debut performance with Playmakers.

The Playbills complement the extensive collections in Wilson Library on theater at UNC, including photographs and scrapbooks from the Carolina Playmakers and records from the Department of Dramatic Art.

Playbill for Mad Dog Blues, from 1975.

 

100 Years of the Daily Tar Heel Now Available Freely Online

We are very excited to announce that papers spanning the first 100 years of the Daily Tar Heel have been digitized and are now freely available online through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

First issue of the Tar Heel, February 23, 1893.

The digital collection covers the years 1893-1992. It contains 73,179 pages in 12,168 issues. For anyone interested in UNC history, it’s a fantastic resource.

The papers were digitized from microfilm (which is why they’re all in black and white) as part of a partnership between Newspapers.com and the UNC Library. The digital DTH is also available on Newspapers.com, along with hundreds of papers from across North Carolina.

The DTH is now freely available thanks to the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, a statewide digital library based in Wilson Library at UNC and supported by the State Library of North Carolina and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has already digitized papers from colleges and universities around North Carolina, including a few from UNC-Chapel Hill (Black Ink, the Cloudbuster, and the UNC Newsletter).

We’ve had lots of fun looking through the digitized DTH issues. You can browse by year or search by keyword. The transcription was done using optical character recognition, so it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good (thanks it part to the great quality of the microfilm, which was done here in Wilson Library).

If you’re looking for issues of the DTH that are not available in the digital collection, you can access articles from the past few years through dailytarheel.com  and older issues on microfilm in Wilson Library.