January 1925: UNC Faces the Poole Resolution

(from the University of North Carolina Papers, #40005, University Archives)
Telegram from President Chase asking for help to defeat the Poole resolution (from the University of North Carolina Papers, #40005, University Archives)

On January 8, 1925, David Scott Poole from Hoke County introduced a resolution in the North Carolina State Legislature stating:

“That it is the sense of the General Assembly of North Carolina  that it is injurious to the welfare of the people of the State of North Carolina for any official or teacher in the State, paid wholly or in part by taxation, to teach or permit to be taught as a fact either Darwinism or any other evolutionary hypothesis that links men in blood relationship with any lower form of life.”

(North Carolina General Assembly, “Joint Resolution Restricting the Teaching of Darwinism in the Public Schools of North Carolina”)

This resolution was the culmination of at least five years of increasing debate over the teaching and learning of evolution in public schools. In 1920, the President of Wake Forest University, William L. Poteat, accepted the teaching of evolution as part of Wake Forest’s biology curriculum. At the same time, President Henry W. Chase and Dr. Howard Odum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sought to increase the scope of the academic research done at the school. Social Forces, a journal founded by Odum in 1922, published several articles on the issue of religion and academic freedom. The John Calvin McNair Lecture Series, which was founded in 1906 and focused on the relationship of science and theology, also hosted talks on this topic in the years leading up to the resolution.

For the university community, and President Chase in particular, the issue of teaching evolution was not one of religion but freedom of speech and the freedom to teach the “scientific truth”. President Chase vigorously defended the fact that the University of North Carolina was not trying to suppress religion in its schools. Instead, religious activities and studies were actively encouraged and supported by the university. What President Chase objected to was the interference of political agendas in teaching.

“The state of North Carolina has shown that it believes in the free thought and discussion necessary to secure the advancement of the knowledge in the world. I have simply tried to point out that such freedom does not produce an atmosphere of indifference to religion, that, as the unrestricted right to seek for truth, it is the vital and essential thing to which a University must be dedicated. Scientific truth has never, in the long run, done the slightest harm to religious faith, but has on the contrary widened and deepened that faith.”

(Vol. II 1923-30, page 290, in the Harry Woodburn Chase Papers, #3429, Southern Historical Collection)

President Chase and his allies helped to defeat the resolution in committee. It also failed when brought to the full General Assembly for a vote.

For more on the anti-evolution debate see: “The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina in the 1920s”, an online exhibit provided by UNC Libraries.

Summer Plans

From the Records of the North Carolina Xi of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.  SV-40334/2, Scrapbook, 1954.
A 1954 scrapbook from the Records of the North Carolina Xi Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity (SV-40334/2).

This page from a 1954 scrapbook shows members of UNC’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and friends on a trip to the beach.

What are your plans this summer?  Will you be going to the beach?

20 Facts for 20 Years!

On this day in 1994, the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Carolina’s students, staff, and faculty pass the Cemetery on a regular basis.  It is as much a part of the campus as the Arboretum or the Bell Tower.  In honor of the 20th anniversary of its addition to the National Register of Historic Places, we’ve made a list of 20 facts about the Cemetery.  How many did you already know?

The Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on UNC Chapel Hill's campus.
The Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus.
  1. The original 125 acres was sold to the College in October of 1776 for 5 shillings. That would be $40.65 today!
  2. The first recorded burial was George Clarke.  George was a student from Burke County, NC.  He died September 28, 1798.  He was also a member of the Philanthropic Society.  Although he was the first buried, his stone was not placed until the mid-nineteenth century.
  3. The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies were the first to buy plots in the Cemetery.  When students passed away and their homes were too far away for quick transport, the respective society would bury the student in their plot. In fact, the Di and Phi Societies were as competitive in burying their members as they were in everything else before they became a united organization. The societies were constantly trying to one-up each other with the erection of monuments in their cemetery plots.  The Phi Society once commissioned an eight-foot high Italian Marble monument for a deceased member.
  4. In 1835, it was officially named the College Graveyard.  This did not stop Chapel Hill residents from calling it the “Village Cemetery” though.  It was renamed upon the completion of a low wall encompassing the entirety of the property.
  5. All cemetery plots have already been purchased.  The Cemetery isn’t entirely full yet, but plots are off the market!

    UNC Chapel Hill recognizes the segregated section of the historic cemetery.
    UNC Chapel Hill recognizes the segregated section of the historic cemetery.
  6. Two sections of the Cemetery were reserved for African Americans and segregated from the other four by a low rock wall. The section was established because there were no black church cemeteries in Chapel Hill. Many of those buried in sections A and B were university laborers and servants who were often slaves or former slaves. The earliest (marked) grave in this part of the cemetery belongs to Ellington Burnett (1831-1853).
  7. Confederate soldiers were buried in the Cemetery during the Civil War. Their stones are marked with “C.S.A.”
  8. Like most cemeteries, Chapel Hill’s has had a problem with vandalism. It’s unclear whether or not vandalism has been intentional or accidental.  For example, in 1974, 40 to 50 monuments were broken and pushed off their bases.  However, in 1985, stones were damaged by football fans eager to get to their seats. 
  9. In 1922, the town of Chapel Hill took over responsibility for maintaining the Cemetery.  However, in 1988, ownership was transferred to the University.
  10. The oldest monument in the Cemetery belongs to the grave of Margaritta Chapman, who died in 1814 at the age of 16.  Although George Clarke was the first buried, his monument was not erected immediately upon his death.
  11. Charles Kuralt is buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. Before he launched his successful journalism career, Kuralt spent so much time working on the The Daily Tar Heel in his senior year that he ended up failing all of his other classes!  Since many of the plots had already been purchased, Charles Kuralt would not have been buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery had the Pickard Family not relinquished a plot.
  12. The Cemetery holds the graves of more than 800 African Americans. Many of the graves are unmarked. The segregated section of the Cemetery has since been recognized with a sign post remembering those buried there. While many of the graves are still unmarked, the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill did conduct a survey of the segregated area in 2009.

    Wilson Caldwell.  From the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.
    Wilson Caldwell. From the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.
  13. Wilson Caldwell is buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. Born a slave in 1841 to University President David Swain, Wilson was a much recognized member of the Carolina community during his lifetime.  When enslaved, Caldwell became the head janitor to the University.  After Emancipation, Caldwell stayed in the Chapel Hill area and established a school for African Americans in 1868.  He was also elected to the Board of Commissioners of Chapel Hill, bought 12 acres of land, and served as a justice of the peace.  In 1884, however, he returned to work for the University and maintained his position as the head of the campus workforce until his death in 1898.  Get more information on Wilson Caldwell here.
  14. Cars used to park on unmarked graves before football games until restrictions were implemented in 1991. We know parking is tight here, but thank goodness we’re showing a little more respect now!
  15. Several of the monuments in the Di-Phi plots were by the famous 19th Century stone carver George Lauder. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Lauder lived in Raleigh and Fayetteville, NC.  He actually owned the largest gravestone factory in North Carolina in the 1800s!
  16. University trustees almost created a second cemetery in McCorkle Place! When the body of Dr. Joseph Caldwell was moved from the “College Graveyard” to its spot under the monument in McCorkle Place in 1846, the trustees briefly considered creating a new cemetery.  The idea never came to fruition though.
  17. Jane Tenney Gilbert (1896-1980) has the gravestone with the most school spirit. Ever.  Her epitaph reads: “I was a Tar Heel born and a Tar Heel bred/and here I lie a Tar Heel dead./BORN JAN. 1896 AND STILL HERE 1980.”
  18. There is a large sandstone obelisk in Section B, dedicated to the black servants of the University.  The obelisk is the original Joseph Caldwell monument from McCorkle Place, which was replaced in the late 19th century by a granite obelisk. It was rededicated in memory of Wilson Caldwell, his father November Caldwell and David Barham and Henry Smith, two other black university servants. Note that even though these men and women were “servants” to the University, some of them were enslaved by families in the area and loaned to the school.
  19. Five 19th century headstones were tipped over and smashed the day before Charles Kuralt was buried in the cemetery. We’re not sure if the vandalism was in anticipation of Charles Kuralt’s burial or if the timing was incidental.  We can’t imagine anyone having THAT much of a problem with Charles Kuralt!
  20. If you are so inclined, you can have your ashes scattered near the cemetery!  Memorial grove was created as the solution to the limited space of the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.  It is UNC’s garden for the scattering and interment of ashes.  The garden is reserved for use by individuals with a university affiliation, and for immediate family members of those individuals. Because of the nature of a scattering garden, the space can accommodate an unlimited number of individuals, allowing anyone who wishes to maintain an eternal connection to the university to do so.
Jane Tenney Gilbert's spirited epitaph.
Jane Tenney Gilbert’s spirited epitaph.

Now you know!

Swim to Graduate

"Intramural: swimming, group of ten," 5 October 1961.  From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031.
“Intramural: swimming, group of ten,” 5 October 1961. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031.

We’re so proud of everyone who graduated yesterday! Congratulations! But did you know that up until 2006, all undergraduates were required to pass a swim test in order to graduate? Well, the swim test was not unique to Carolina. It used to be a requirement at many colleges and universities across the country. But where did the requirement come from exactly?

The legend at UNC, and many other campuses, starts with the death of a student by drowning. The student’s family decided to give a large endowment to the University after the incident but with the condition that all students know how to swim. This theory is nothing more than a myth though since many colleges and universities established swim tests during WWII when campuses became designated training programs.

In 1942, UNC was designated as a pre-flight training program by the US government, and the university was awarded funds to construct several structures on campus including the ROTC building, the outdoor pool, and the indoor track.  Of course, the midshipmen who were a part of the pre-flight training program had to learn to swim. During and after the war, national debates and discussions centered on whether America’s youth were fit enough to defend our country. So a compulsory swim test was implemented at UNC for men in 1944 and women in 1946.

The swim test remained unchanged until the 1970s when it was altered so that undergraduates had to swim 50 yds and tread water for 5 minutes. The test remained in place through the spring of 2006 when it was officially ended as a requirement for the fall semester.

"Swimming Physical Education," 31 October 1960. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031
“Swimming Physical Education,” 31 October 1960. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031

Did you have to take the swim test?  We’d love to hear about your experience! 

A Sudden Ending and a New Beginning: The Assasination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Birth of UNC’s Black Student Movement

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, AL on April 30th, 1966.  From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, AL on April 30th, 1966. From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

On April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  As the nation reeled in shock, UNC-Chapel Hill also reacted to the vicious ending of a life dedicated to the non-violent pursuit of Civil Rights.

UNC-Chapel Hill officials held a memorial service attended by over 2,000 people, but the Black Student Movement (BSM) staged its own remembrances of Dr. King. On April 6th, members of the BSM marched down Franklin Street and burned several Confederate flags on the lawn of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity house.  At the time, Kappa Alpha was supportive of the Old South and the Confederacy.

In addition to holding a separate memorial service for Dr. King, the BSM also called on the campus’ African American workers to not attend work on April 9th.  Although Chancellor Sitterson had announced a half-day for campus workers on April 7th, Preston Dobbins (the president of the BSM) encouraged the day of remembrance because he felt that the University had not responded to Dr. King’s assassination with the appropriate amount of respect. Ninety percent of the African American workers on campus stayed home from work that day.

The Constitution of the Black Student Movement from folder 25, box 3, of the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Constitution of the Black Student Movement from folder 25, box 3, of the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The BSM may be most remembered for the 23 demands of December 1968, but the students’ collaboration with the campus workers in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination was an important first step in the relationship between the two groups. Over the years, students of the BSM have supported UNC-Chapel Hill’s non-academic workers such as groundskeepers, food workers, and housekeepers.

Today, we at University Archives remember the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the birth of the Black Student Movement on our campus.  Although the group began in such dark times, we commend them for forging relationships on our campus and moving forward.

Visit The Carolina Story, UNC’s virtual history museum, for more information on the Black Student Movement.

Caption Contest Winner!

And we have a winner, folks!  Thank you to everyone who submitted captions for our latest Caption This! contest and to everyone who voted for their favorite.

This round’s winner was Matthew Farrell, a UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus!  Congrats Matthew!

Ambiguously worded dress codes lead to all sorts of problems...
Ambiguously worded dress codes lead to all sorts of problems…

Stay tuned for our next round of Caption This! in the coming weeks!

UNC Students Call for Health Care Reform!

It’s not what you think. We are not discussing the Affordable Care Act or even paying for health care. This is a historical look at just one health care issue at Carolina. In the 1980s, the question for some students was not what they would pay for health care but whether or not they would receive it with equity.

From Box 1:1:15, Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118.
From Box 1:1:15, Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118.

In November of 1983, Brian Richmond wrote to the Daily Tar Heel to reprimand the School of Medicine for turning down the opportunity to offer a scholarship to medical students who had come out as gay or lesbian. Richmond, the acting director of the Sexuality Education & Counseling Service, condemned the decision because as a sex counselor on a college campus, he had come to realize how difficult it was for lesbians and gay men to find good doctors for a variety reasons including prejudice, misconceptions, malpractice, anti-gay laws, and fear of AIDS. Richmond believed that supporting gay men and lesbians in their pursuits to become health care providers would be a step in the right direction. In his letter, he called on the Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Stuart Bondurant, to work with the gay and lesbian community on his campus.

A student's letter expressing his willingness to serve on the Committee.  From Box 1:1:15, the Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118
A student’s letter expressing his willingness to serve on the Committee. From Box 1:1:15, the Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118

Dr. Bondurant stood by the decision not to offer a scholarship exclusively to gay and lesbian medical students, but he did acknowledge that the School of Medicine could better respond to the health care needs of gay and lesbian students. So, the idea for a Committee for Gay/Lesbian Health Concerns was born. The Committee would be composed of students, School of Medicine faculty, and Student Health Services staff. Due to scheduling conflicts in the Spring semester of 1984, however, the committee failed to meet and was put off until the following semester.

The next interaction we found between the School of Medicine and the gay and lesbian community occurred in 1985 when North Carolina’s Lesbian and Gay Health Project called upon the school to update their curriculum. The Project asked for health care issues unique to gay men and lesbians to be incorporated into study. The idea was to improve doctors’ understanding of health concerns particular to the homosexual community while dispelling common misconceptions.

So, long before the Affordable Care Act or the price of treatment, students have been concerned with health care services!

As a member of the Carolina community, what are your current health care concerns? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Caption This Photo! Caption Contest

Have you ever seen a picture and thought, I bet that person/cat/dog/inanimate object is thinking/saying…? Well if you’ve been wanting to creatively caption a photo, here’s your chance with University Archives’ caption contest!

Take a look at the photo below and the kid circled in red on the left.  Doesn’t look too thrilled to be at his grandfather’s reunion, does he?

From Image Folder 10, Records of the News Services of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, #40139, University Archives, Wilson Library.  Click image for a larger view.
From Image Folder 10, Records of the News Services of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, #40139, University Archives, Wilson Library. Click image for a larger view.

Taken at a 1946 reunion supper, the photograph above shows the “Old Students Club” and their guests. The club was comprised of students who had graduated 50 or more years previously. The circled child, Billy Turrentine, was the grandson of another man on the second row, Dr. Samuel Bryant Turrentine of Greensboro. Dr. Turrentine graduated from UNC in 1887 with both an AB and MA (presumably in journalism).

What's on Billy's brain?
What’s on Billy’s brain?

If you have an idea of what Billy might be thinking, leave us a comment below.  We’ll post the winning caption next week along with a few of our favorites. 

Inspired by the New Yorker Magazine’s cartoon caption contest. See the contest and past captions here

Love It or Hate It? Snow at UNC

Most North Carolinians have a love/hate relationship with snow. We love snowy days, but hate the havoc just a dusting of the white stuff can wreak on our lives.

We’ve found some images illustrating our love of snow in our sister collection, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Enjoy these photographs from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection of a huge student snowball fight in McCorkle Place, probably taken in the early to mid-1900s, and the Arboretum during a snowstorm on February 2nd, 1921.

[Selected photographs from folders 0910 and 0191, in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection Collection #P0004, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

On the other hand, we’ve also found evidence of snow-hating in the archives.

The university was hit so hard with snow in January of 2000 that classes were canceled for three days. Not wanting to take away reading days or to infringe on spring break, Chancellor William O. McCoy made the unpopular decision to schedule make-up days on a few weekends later in the year.

Needless to say, his records contain more than a few letters of complaint from students and staff describing the weather conditions. In one letter regarding the administration’s initial reluctance to cancel classes, the writer asked “What kind of sadistic people are you?”

Click for a larger image.
[Letter of complaint, in the Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: William O. McCoy Records #40227, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

But whether you love or hate snow, I think we can all agree that UNC is a beautiful place to be anytime of year.

The Night Before Christmas at the Phi Mu House

In the winter of 1965, the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Phi Mu Sorority had moved into their new house at 211 Henderson Street.  The move was festive and joyful.  To celebrate the season, the sisters wrote their own version of the poem The Night Before Christmas. 

We came across the poem in the scrapbook that the Gamma Lambda chapter recently loaned to us. The clatter that awoke the sisters in this poem, however, was not from reindeer on the roof but from “caroling boys with their bottles of cheer!”

Phi Mu's rendition of "The Night Before Christmas," 1965. Click for a larger version.
Phi Mu’s rendition of “The Night Before Christmas,” 1965. Click for a larger version.

Happy holidays from everyone at University Archives and Records Management Services!