HBCU Identity

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) had been placed on the lowest ladder of the UNC system making them less competitive. As more black students had access to formally all white instructions, the number of black students at HBCUs decreased. In order to make up for these losses, HBCUs were recruiting white students.

North Carolina's five HBCUs are proud symbols of African-American identity. The increased presence of white students caused some HBCU officials to become concerned that eliminating the racial identity of their instructions would undermine their institutions’ ability to provide educational opportunities to minorities.

The black community fought back at the prospect of losing their institutions. Julius Chambers, one of the few black members of the Board of Governors, resigned out of protest for the way the UNC system handled desegregation. Chambers later said in an interview that the state had woefully failed to ensure minority student admissions and to make traditionally black instructions competitive within the UNC System.

Visit other Exhibits in Crossing the Color Line.