The University of North Carolina enforced racial segregation in campus buildings well into the mid 20th century. There is clear evidence of this in documents, publications, and in the recollections of people who studied and worked at Carolina. However, photographs of segregated spaces at UNC are often hard to find. Recently we found a couple of photos from the UNC Photo Lab collection that provide clear evidence of how public spaces on campus continued to be segregated by race into the 1950s.
These photos are from a series taken by university photographers to publicize the opening of the new dental school building at Carolina. The new dental building (now known as “First Dental”) was a significant milestone in dental education and service at Carolina — in addition to teaching and learning facilities, the new building marked the beginning of patient services offered by the School of Dentistry. Dentistry faculty and students offered clinical services to patients from the local community and across North Carolina. A memo about the opening of the new building states: “There are separate, complete facilities for white and for Negro patients.” (Records of UNC President Gordon Gray, collection 4008, folder 383). The description of separate facilities was repeated in a Daily Tar Heel story about the dental building in December 1952.
The note about facilities for Black patients was intentional. The University clearly wanted to highlight the fact that it would be offering dental services to Black patients who might otherwise rightly have assumed that they would not be admitted to medical facilities at Carolina. However, the announcement was also clear to specify that the spaces would be segregated by race.
The publicity photos also included two showing patients in the separate waiting rooms. It’s hard to tell whether or not these photos represent typical conditions in the waiting rooms, but the differences are striking. The waiting room for white patients is spacious and shows just two people waiting. The waiting room for Black patients is significantly more crowded, with every seat full and one of the patients having to stand.
It is noteworthy that the University established segregated patient spaces in 1952, just over a year after UNC was forced to begin admitting Black students to graduate programs. In the summer of 1951, Black students entered Carolina for the first time, enrolling in the School of Law, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Medicine, which was adjacent to the new dental building.
It’s not clear, at least from our initial research, how long the facility continued to operate separate waiting rooms for Black and white patients. When local high school students began challenging segregated businesses in Chapel Hill in February 1960, the protests soon spread to UNC buildings. In April 1963, the UNC chapter of the NAACP picketed North Carolina Memorial Hospital in protest of continued racial segregation of some hospital patients. Most likely racial segregation in the hospital and dental facilities continued in some form until the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act in 1964.
In 1966 the UNC men’s varsity Glee Club celebrated their 75th touring season with a month-long tour through Europe, including 21 performances in England, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, West Germany, and East Germany. Director Joel Carter (1913-2000) and student members collected a variety of items during their trip, now available in a new addition to the records of the Department of Music in the University Archives.
Dr. Carter’s planning materials include a packing list for club members. Suggested items include: a wool and summer blazer, a dressing gown and slippers, collapsible coat hangers, a shoeshine kit, and “your favorite tummy-ache remedy.” The list discourages liquids as “they are heavy and treacherous!”
The first stop of the tour brought the club to New York City, where they performed a worship service at St. George’s Church in Greenwich Village followed by a national television performance on the Ed Sullivan show. Dr. Carter’s records include a draft letter by club members to Ed Sullivan requesting to perform on his show. The show, filmed on June 12, 1966, also featured The Dave Clark Five, tap dancer Peter Gennaro, and writer Elwyn Ambrose who recited poetry with a cat puppet.
Paul Wyche, club president and class of 1967, saved his KLM and Eastern airlines boarding passes. These paper tickets have hand-written and stamped flight information and seat numbers. Two have passport control tickets attached. There are also ferry, bus, and train tickets. Someone collected travel brochures, including foreign currency guides, ferry boat brochures, and a tourist magazine from Copenhagen.
The Glee Club’s choice of songs, demonstrated in their partial repertoire list, emphasizes American music and composers. The list features two songs by Stephen Foster (1826-1864), sometimes called “the father of American music.” Further underscoring their ‘Americanness,’ they performed at Rebild National Park Society’s American Independence Day celebration, one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations outside of the United States.
The European tour event program describes an 1895 Glee Club poster calling their performances “rollicking songs, jigs and banjo picking.” The program goes on to say “[t]he banjos and jigs have been packed away with the knickers and knee socks worn by the Club’s earlier members. But the University of North Carolina Men’s Glee Club is still known for its ‘jolly programs’ and ‘rollicking songs.’” They paid homage to their early banjo pickin’ days with the song “Ring de Banjo” by Stephen Foster.
The club’s oeuvre included African American spirituals; however, many of the African American spirituals performed, with a notable exception of the arrangement of “Were You There?” by Henry Thacker “Harry” Burleigh (1866-1949), were arranged by white composers. The club also performed exclusionary and injurious music, the most conspicuous example being “Dixie,” the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy, which they sang on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The club members found time to sightsee in between performances. Tourist memorabilia is scattered throughout the collection, including museum and Cinerama tickets. Someone saved a hotel shower cap, receipts, and blank postcards. A hastily scrawled note to a member who slept in tells him where to meet the group later that morning.
In a 1986 Chapel Hill Newspaper article on the Glee Club reunion, Betty North described their experiences in Paris:
By the time the group arrived in Paris, one of the last major stops, the club members were tired and running short of money, North said. The group stayed in a cheap hotel and toured the city in the least expensive way possible: by foot and by subway. “In the winter, the hotel we were staying in was a house for ladies of the night, and the desk clerk was a madame,” North said. “She just couldn’t understand why all these young men were staying there, next to the Moulin Rouge, and not going after the women.”
The members still had plenty of indecorous fun. Two German beer coasters and a ticket for a casino in Lucerne are in the collection. There is also a Playboy Club napkin of unknown American origin—likely from St. Louis or New York City during the national tour.
The club’s travel to Leipzig and East Berlin in East Germany, then under Soviet rule, served as a subdued note. A four-page information pamphlet from the United States Mission in West Berlin details the process of traveling into East Berlin. The group shared a general anti-Soviet sentiment in a 1966 newspaper article, describing the land as “creepy,” “completely colorless,” and “dirty, barren and downright spooky.” The article also describes East Germans as glaring at the diesel bus. Student photographer Jock Lauterer photographed the group in East Germany; the negatives of these photos are in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives in Wilson Library.
Despite their fundraising efforts, the club ran out of money by the end of the tour. In a letter to the Alumni Annual Giving fund dated September 22, 1966, Dr. Carter asked for a gift to help cover their $3,025.49 deficit. Dr. Carter mentions he enclosed “pictures, news releases, brochures, and other souvenirs of our European Tour.” Perhaps Dr. Carter and members collected memorabilia to give as thank you gifts to their tour sponsors, and this small collection was left.
Liz Lucas, “Glee Club Recall ’66 Tour,” The Chapel Hill Newspaper, May 11 1986.
Joan Page, “Glee Club’s Visit in Red Area Brings Somber Note to Travels,” Newspaper clipping, 1966.
On September 18th, 1992, filmmaker Spike Lee spoke at a rally at the Dean E. Smith Center in support of a free-standing Black Cultural Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Lee had learned about student activism in support of a Black Cultural Center at Carolina when the New York Times reported on the participation of several Black football players in the movement. The UNC Libraries Digital Production Center has recently digitized a videotape of the rally. The full video is now available online.
In the 81 minute-long recording, leaders of the Black Cultural Center (BCC) movement and the Black Awareness Council (BAC), an organization founded by four football players, speak to an audience of over 5,000 attendees. Then, Spike Lee enters the stage to offer words in support of the students rallying for a free-standing Black cultural center. He also offers praise to the athletes involved in the movement and highlights the contributions of Black athletes in the rising prominence of college athletics. In an interview prior to his speech, Lee said that he was there to learn from and show support to the student leaders involved in this movement.
After working its way through the Missouri state and federal courts, the landmark case Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada challenging segregation in higher education came to a close in 1938. In December of that year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Lloyd Gaines had been unfairly denied admission to the University of Missouri Law School because he was Black. When Gaines first challenged his rejection, the University offered to pay for him to attend law school outside the state. Gaines’ lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston, masterfully convinced the courts that if Gaines could not attend the University of Missouri, the state would have to build a law school for Blacks equal to that of whites, recalling the “separate but equal” doctrine laid down in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The decision was to enroll Gaines at the University of Missouri.
That year, in 1938, with the Gaines decision clearly having created fissures in the walls of Jim Crow, Black students continued pushing on the walls surrounding UNC. In late 1938, Pauli Murray applied to UNC’s graduate school and was denied. Her subsequent exchange with President Frank Porter Graham reveals both her genius and the tenuousness of Graham’s liberal position on race and integration.
Another Black woman applied earlier that year in 1938. Her name was Edwina Thomas. Her exchanges with Frank Porter Graham and Dean W.W. Pierson can also be found with Pauli Murray’s via the Records of the Office of the President of the UNC System Frank Porter Graham (1932-1949). When Thomas wrote to UNC asking the Dean for an application, the Gaines case had not yet been decided, but she was certainly very well aware of the details of the case and its chances for success.
In January of 1938, Edwina Thomas, student at Talladega College in Alabama and of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, applied to graduate school at UNC. She requested an application by mail, which she filled out and returned. It is very unlikely that applications to the University asked for race – surely it was just assumed all applicants would be white. It appears to have taken some time for the Dean to realize that Thomas was Black. Pierson responds to Thomas at Talladega, dated April 27, 1938: “It is my understanding that it is the public policy of the State of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina not to admit members of the colored race to the University. Such admission would entail a reversal of a social policy of long standing and would require action to that effect by the trustees of the institution. I withhold therefore a ruling as to your academic eligibility for admission.”
In May, Thomas writes directly to President Frank Porter Graham, with echoes of the Gaines case in her response: “As I am unable financially to cope with the expenses of graduate schools outside my own state, I should like very much for you to advise me as to just what I can expect from the State of North Carolina in the way of help financially if I am to be denied admission to the State University because of my race.” Graham does respond to Thomas, assuring that despite the “laws of North Carolina with regard to providing separate schools for the two races, and the long established public policy of the state, I took the matter of your letter up with the Governor of our state,” and that the General Assembly should discuss the issue at some point the next year.
In June 1938, Thomas writes Graham again, and on the letterhead of Wentz Memorial Congregational Church, where her father was Reverend. Referring to any possible decisions made at the state level regarding admission or funding of Black education, she says, “I look forward with great anticipation to any new developments along this line.”
Undeterred, Edwina Thomas still presses President Graham, writing from her home in Winston-Salem in August 1938, indicating that she is very much aware of legal and political tides within North Carolina: “Since a special session of the state legislature has been called, I was wondering the problem of facilities for negro graduate students could not be presented at this time. If this matter could be disposed of during this special session it would be considerably helpful for students, like myself, who wish to attend graduate school next year (next school year).” She closes, “I do hope that this very pressing problem can be mitigated soon.” Graham responds with news that neither education funding nor admission of Black students were discussed at the special session and would not be revisited until January 1939.
This is the extent of correspondence between Edwina Thomas and UNC administrators. She would not waste time waiting and went on to graduate school at Ohio State. Engaged as a scholar and leader, she became a lifelong member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. It is not clear if Graham took Thomas’ case specifically to the Governor at the time, as he claimed. The result would have been predictable, as Governor Clyde Hoey was a virulent segregationist and white supremacist.
Edwina Theolyne Thomas was born in 1918 in Alabama to parents the Reverend George Jefferson Thomas and Winnie Cornelia Whitaker. Edwina’s father, originally from Georgia, was the leader of Winston-Salem’s Wentz Memorial Church, a Congregational Church. Before taking over at Wentz in 1924, George Thomas had been the field superintendent for Congregational Churches in Georgia and the Carolinas. When Thomas applied to UNC, she was 20 years old. A few years later when Thomas was 22, she married attorney H. Alfred Glascor, of Columbus, Ohio, and they lived some time in his hometown. Her marriage ended and she moved to Wisconsin, where Thomas became a renowned clinical psychologist at the Milwaukee County Memorial Hospital, a position she held for more than twenty years. There, she formed its first hospital outpatient unit in 1949. Tragically, Thomas died in a car accident in 1968 at age 50, and was mourned by the Milwaukee Star newspaper with a poem, “The Milwaukee Star mourns the loss/Of such an asset to our community;/But realize that one who lived so well/Will continue in the hereafter with impunity.”
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Finding Wilson Caldwell: The Study of Slavery at UNC.” Carolina Alumni Review, January 2020. [Online access available to General Alumni Association members.]
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.
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.
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.
We are pleased to present this guest post from UNC-Chapel Hill student Autumn Linford. Autumn is a Park Fellow in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
Aros Coke Cecil’s photographs could be the work of any UNC undergrad of any era. Playing sports, the Old Well, friends goofing around, socializing with pretty co-eds: the images in Cecil’s 1917-1918 album wouldn’t seem out of place on a student’s Instagram page today. There are photos of students studying, photos of students procrastinating, and even one of Cecil and a friend clowning around with a classroom skeleton (see figure 1).
There is only one photo in the album that stands out. A young man, college-aged, stands in a dorm room holding a bucket and broom (see figure 2) Pennants and framed pictures are tacked to the wall behind him. It isn’t the scene that sets this photograph apart. It’s the fact that the young man, who looks at home casually leaning up against a desk with neatly stacked books, is black.
Black men and women weren’t allowed to attend the university as students until 1951, following a federal court order that led to the admission of black students to graduate programs. African American undergraduates were not admitted until 1955. There were blacks on campus in 1917, but it was strictly in the role of staff, cooking or doing maintenance jobs or, as was likely case of the young man pictured, cleaning. That this man was photographed by a white student is surprising. That his photograph was carefully preserved in a book alongside Cecil’s other college memories seems remarkable.
While we know something about the photographer, nothing was written down about the young man pictured other than the suggestion that he may have been a janitor for the university’s dorms. Was he friends with Cecil? Was he seen as a mascot to the men in the dorm? Did he appreciate being photographed, or dislike it? Was he important to Cecil, or was this a way to finish out a roll of film?
There is so much that we can never know about this man, but I wanted to try to identify him with however much information I could. Utilizing the resources available online and in the Wilson Library’s collections, I was able to identify the young man in question as Henry Patrick Merritt, Jr.
My process was systematic and replicable. I first confirmed the janitor was, in fact, standing in a dorm room by examining other photographs in the collection and finding other shots of the same room. I then went through each page of Chapel Hill’s 1920 census record and found all black men employed on campus. I narrowed the list down to those working in dormitories, and then again to janitors, leaving about 10 men. It is difficult to tell how old the man in the picture is, but a conservative guess suggests he was between the ages of 15 and 35 at the time of the photograph. By eliminating all men whose ages were outside that frame, I was left with only three names: Johnson Merritt, Jr., Lee Baldwin, and Henry Merritt, Jr.
Other photographs in Cecil’s collection showed the college men receiving their draft information for WWI in 1917. I thought it likely that the black men on campus had received their notices at the same time. I looked up all three men in the WWI databases and found each of their war registration cards. In 1917, Johnson Merritt, Jr. wrote in his occupation as gardener for the college. Lee Baldwin listed his occupation as a laborer. Henry Merritt, Jr., age 19, listed himself as a janitor for the dormitories at the University of North Carolina.
Merritt was born March 15, 1900 in Chapel Hill. His father, Henry Merritt, Sr. was a long-time janitor for the on-campus fraternity Kappa Sigma. Henry Jr. was the oldest of nine children: six sisters and two brothers. With so many younger siblings, the income Merritt made by working at the university would have been crucial to his family’s survival. At the time, janitors on campus were paid $14.93 a week, a wage that covered barely half of the average living expenses for blacks living in town at the time. Despite that, the wage was still considered “relatively high” for people of color at the time.
After the war, Merritt worked for C. and P. Telephone Co. His father continued to work as a janitor at the university and features prominently in several editions of the Daily Tar Heel, including one with a four-column photograph in 1926 (see figure 3).
We don’t know why Cecil took his photograph of Merritt, or why it was important enough for him to keep. We can’t know what Merritt felt while he posed or what he was thinking as he cleaned up after men he wasn’t allowed to call peers. But we do now know his name. In conjunction with the archivists at the Wilson Library, I have already begun the process of updating the system to include Merritt’s name and basic information. It is by treating him with dignity that we can begin to reckon with the past’s efforts to erase him and others like him.
 Dorothy Fahs, report. “Income and expenditure in 28 Chapel Hill Negro Families,” University of North Carolina Wilson Library.
This post contains information about reproductive health that may be sensitive for some readers.
A decade of change in UNC’s student population sparked several changes in reproductive and sexual health dialogue on campus. From 1967 to 1977, women grew from 28.7% of the student body to 49.2%. Women were first allowed to enroll as freshman in most programs at the University in the early 1960s, and were admitted based on a higher academic standard until Title IX in 1972 (OIRA Fact Book, 1994).
In December 1970, in response to a recognized need for more open dialogue about reproductive health on campus, a student and a faculty member started “Elephants and Butterflies,” a weekly column in the Daily Tar Heel. Created by student-activist Lana Starnes and Dr. Takey Crist, activist and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the column featured their responses to anonymous letters about health and sexuality.
Some of the reasons Starnes and Crist cited for the necessity of the column were the high rate of unwanted pregnancies and the high rate and danger of illegal abortion (Bobo, 1973). Starnes noted that about 25,000 women sought an illegal abortion in North Carolina annually (Starnes, 1971). A few years earlier, in 1968, campus research showed that 60% of sexually-active women surveyed had not used contraceptives (Morrow, 2006, p. 12). Around the time, UNC administration denied the prescription of birth control to unmarried women, fearing that access to birth control and information would increase sexual activity (Warren, 1967). To make matters more difficult, if a student were unmarried and pregnant or found to have sought an illegal abortion, she would not be permitted to continue school (Unwed Pregnant Student Policy, Collection # 40124).
The column grew out of the sexual health booklet titled “Elephants and Butterflies…and Contraceptives,” co-written by Dr. Crist and released in 1970. To combat stigma and help dymystify human sexuality, Starnes and Crist wrote of their column:
“It is not our purpose to cause embarrasment or fear or shame, but to allow students to examine their educational presuppositions and value judgments concerning human sexuality. We feel your questions are legitimate, necessary and should make us respond thoughtfully, adequately and honestly.” (Starnes & Crist, 1971)
The name of the booklet and column came from that same commitment to openness. It is a reference to the E.E. Cummings fairy tale, “The Elephant and The Butterfly”, a sweet, short story about love and dedication written for Cummings’ daughter (Popova, 2013). The story was printed in the beginning of the booklet, representing sexual relationships as ones that should be entered into with “caring and trust” (Cohen & Snyder, p. 201) In the health booklet, male physiology is described in the “Elephant” section and female physiology in the “Butterfly” section. (Starnes & Cheek, 1970)
Subjects covered in the column ranged from how smoking affects sexual functioning (Sept. 6, 1971) to pregnancy after having a miscarriage (March 5, 1973). Sometimes, in leui of questions, readers could match definitions to a reproductive organ diagram (Sept. 25, 1972) or read an informative guide on STDs (October 1, 1973).
In 1972, the March 6th column was left blank in memory of an 18-year old student who died seeking an illegal abortion. That day, a somber message from Starnes and Crist in place of their usual advice asked if her death could have been prevented with proper birth control and counseling, ending with “We mourn in silence.” (March 6, 1972)
The final column was the seventh in a series of columns about contraception (March 4, 1974). They omitted the recurring section requesting that students send in letters, but stated that the next essay (presumably the eighth) in the series would be on the future of birth control. They did not mention whether or not the column would return.
Learn more about Dr. Crist, Lana Starnes and “Elephants and Butterflies” in “Sexual Liberation at the University of North Carolina,” by Kelly Morrow, a chapter in Rebellion in Black and White: Southern Student Activism in the 1960s. (Robert Cohen and David J. Snyder, eds., Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2013). The article is based on Morrow’s 2006 master’s thesis, available in Carolina Digital Repository: https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/concern/dissertations/d504rm21k.
Morrow, K. (2006). Navigating the “sexual wilderness”: The sexual liberation movement at the University of North Carolina, 1969-1973.
Morrow, K. (2013) “Sexual Liberation at the University of North Carolina.” Rebellion in black and white: Southern student activism in the 1960s. Edited by Robert Cohen and David J. Snyder. The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore.
Popova, M. (2013). Vintage illustrations for the fairy tales e.e. cummings wrote for his only daughter, whom he almost abandoned. Brain Pickings.
Starnes L. & Crist, T. (1973) Elephants and Butterflies. The Daily Tar Heel. http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn92073228/1973-04-16/ed-1/seq-6/
Starnes L. & Crist, T. (1974) Elephants and Butterflies. The Daily Tar Heel.
Unwed Pregnant Student Policy, 1967, in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40124, University Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Warren, V. (1967). Should university health services provide the pill?”. The Daily Tar Heel. http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn92073228/1966-02-03/ed-1/seq-1/
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 toit 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.
This fall, the doors of the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library are getting a new look with the installation of glass panels – but it actually marks a return to the their original design.
From the library’s construction in 1929 through the 1970s, its front doors were wood and glass, allowing passersby a look inside and filling the lobby with natural light. You can see the original doors in the photos below, identified by photographic archivists Stephen Fletcher and Patrick Cullom.
Though we haven’t been able to confirm when the doors were replaced with solid wood, the photographic evidence places it in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Wilson Library underwent major renovations between 1984-1987 after Davis Library opened as the new central library, and it’s likely that the doors were replaced in that period.
During World War II, Wilson Library (then the University Library) was home to the War Information Center, a hub of information and resources related to the war effort.
Briefly called the “Information Center on Civilian Morale,” the Center opened on December 8, 1941: the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Plans for the Center had been in the works for at least a month, but its organizers recognized the immediate need for information as the United States entered the war. The Center was supervised by librarian Katherine Kirtley Weed until the spring of 1942, when librarian Agatha Boyd Adams took on the role.
The War Information Center provided access to books, pamphlets, maps, charts, posters, and news on a wide variety of topics related to the war. Its original collection was drawn from the library’s existing collection, consisting largely of reference materials on countries involved in the war. The collection grew quickly as librarians purchased additional materials and added publications distributed by the United Nations and US government agencies. To make sure up-to-date information was available to students, librarians didn’t catalog the materials, instead making them immediately available on the Center’s open shelves. At its height, the collection consisted of roughly 20,000 pamphlets and 2,000 books (regularly weeded for outdated materials). Center volunteers – 16 women in the first half of 1942 – clipped relevant articles from newspapers, maintained a newspaper clipping file, and staffed the desk.
The Center’s impact was not confined to campus. Its services were open to all North Carolina citizens. The Center distributed reading lists across the state, and discussion groups could borrow “discussion packets” including books and pamphlets by mail. It also provided reference services to state agencies.
The Center closed shortly after the war ended and its books were cataloged and absorbed into the library’s general collections.