The Supreme Court refused to renew the consent decree in 1988, concluding that the agreement did not meet the criteria of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The consent decree allowed the UNC system to continue to receive federal aid without actually eliminates the racial barriers of the past.

In North Carolina’s negotiations with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), UNC system officials reframed the issue of desegregation as state’s rights to govern their own academic institutions. By successfully maintaining control of the desegregation process, the UNC system was able to disregard the history of discrimination that had caused the inequalities between historically black and white institutions.

Visit other Exhibits in Crossing the Color Line.