“Building a University of the People: The Movement for a Free-standing Black Cultural Center at UNC-Chapel Hill”
As the SOHP’s University History Field Scholar, Charlotte Fryar has spent the last year exploring one of UNC-Chapel Hill’s most significant movements in student activism for racial justice, which led to the creation and construction of a free-standing building for the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. The movement for a free-standing black cultural center, with its climax between 1991-93, was part of a larger and longer movement, cultivated by generations of UNC students, who organized to address the ways in which the University’s leadership has fallen short of reconciling with the racialized foundations on which the institution is built. This talk will discuss oral history interviews with alumni who were active in the movement for a free-standing Stone Center and the ways in which interviews with alumni-activists can help to clarify for both current students and administrators what is at stake in addressing University history and how to reconcile with that history in order to act justly for all members of the UNC community–in the past, present, and future.
Charlotte Fryar is a PhD candidate in UNC’s Department of American Studies. She has previously served as Lab Associate for the Digital Innovation Lab and as a researcher for the Chancellor’s Task Force on University History. Her dissertation, a hybrid of digital and textual components, is titled “Building A University of the People.” It investigates the history and continued legacies of racial justice student activism at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1968 to the present as a way to examine institutional racism in and on the landscape of the University’s campus.
This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to email@example.com will be appreciated. Light refreshments will be served.
Join us at the Center to celebrate a very special issue of Southern Cultures. We’ll enjoy music by Sam Gleaves, readings by Silas House, and a mountain menu by Sherri Castle. Attendance is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for food and the issue: click here!
Born and raised in Wythe County in southwest Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history. Sam’s performances combine traditional Appalachian ballads, dance tunes, original songs, and the stories that surround them. His debut album Ain’t We Brothers has been reviewed by National Public Radio, No Depression, and The Bluegrass Situation. Lee Smith has called the album “courageous as hell and country to the bone.”
Silas House is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright who describes the main goal of his writing as “looking into the lives of rural Americans who so often get overlooked by the media.” He currently serves as the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College. House writes that “Sam and I are passionate about giving voice to rural people, about place, and about the power of art to empower and transform. Both of us are very concerned with the rural Other, people who have a deep love for these rural places yet don’t fit in there, due to orientation, race, or other issues.”
Guest edited by Elizabeth S.D. Engelhardt, the Appalachia Issue includes Harlan County U.S.A. soundscapes, a break-up with Pearl S. Buck, musings on Dollywood & hillbilly consumerism, interviews with Appalachian “Country Queers,” and lost photos of black Asheville. Click here to subscribe or view the issue at Project Muse.
Join us at the Center as we launch our Fall 2017 art exhibit, featuring story quilts based on the deployed experiences of Native American military veterans. Inspired by oral history interviews with veterans from each of North Carolina’s eight state- and federally-recognized tribes, these quilts are artifacts of lived experience and material culture from the American South. Their stories from World War II through ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan reflect the strength and complications of patriotism, as well as the struggles that sometimes continue after leaving the combat zone.
In addition to comments by Project Director Karen Harley, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian tribe, the opening reception will include performances by Native musicians and excerpts from oral history interviews. This exhibit is made possible with funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Back Ways and “Good Roads”
Southern Oral History Program field scholars Darius Scott and Rachel Cotterman explore recent findings from Back Ways, an SOHP project that examines the relationship between infrastructure development and experiences of racial segregation in the rural American South. Their talk will focus on the activities of the North Carolina “Good Roads Movement,” an influential Progressive Era (1890s-1920s) reform project that worked to improve rural roads. The movement was shaped by both appeals to historic agrarian racism and commitments to scientific objectivity. The result was a supposedly unbiased plan that effectively institutionalized inequitable road development. This talk will address the challenges and possibilities of combining archival research and oral history in exploring the rural South as shaped by public policy and lived experience. You can read more here and listen to a “Press Record” podcast about this project via SoundCloud or iTunes.
This talk is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to firstname.lastname@example.org are appreciated. Light refreshments will be provided.