Race & Space: The Student Body

In our larger project, Race & Space, the collaborators explore the concept that integration was not an event but rather a process. Legalized educational integration was only the first step in a long process of negotiations for equal access to education, opportunity, and space. In our project, we argue that NC State was not suddenly “integrated,” but instead underwent a series of incremental changes through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s as black athletes, students, faculty, staff, and community members advocated for their rights to public space, both physical and metaphorical.

Race & Space: The Student Body argues that black students at NC State faced numerous challenges as they tried to succeed academically, gain a social and political voice, and move into traditionally white spaces. By analyzing this history spatially, the exhibit concludes that equal treatment, education, and access on NC State’s campus were never a given; instead, they were goals towards which black students strived for many years through negotiation, protest, and hard work.

Above are seven spaces that experienced tension and strife, as well as victories and celebrations, during the tumultuous post-integration period at NC State. In many ways, each of these spaces was contested by both black and white students as the student body struggled to adjust to black students' fight for academic, social, and political equality on campus. Understanding events in each of these spaces is seminal to understanding the shifting attitudes, demographics, and realities at NC State during the 1960s and 1970s. 

These locations pop up in various parts of the exhibit, Race & Space: The Student Body. I hope you enjoy exploring the map and the exhibit! 

This exhibit is part of a collaborative project. To learn more, check out: The Athletic DepartmentThe Community, and The Workplace.


Samantha Vandermeade