Browse Exhibits (4 total)

Crossing the Color Line: A Means of Protest, 1968-1972


Crossing the Color Line: A Means of Protest, 1968-1972, examines the activities of the black student organization the Society of Afro-American Culture (SAAC) at North Carolina State University from its founding in 1968 until 1972. Self-identified as the "political and cultural organization of Black Students at NC State University," the SAAC took part in student outreach and campus demonstrations.1

Analyses of documents crafted by and about the organization reveal that the SAAC adhered to larger national black student organization trends, such as aligning itself with the relatively young Black Power Movement. Throughout its formative years, the SAAC concerned itself with a broad spectrum of local, national, and international issues, including the plight of black non-academic staff members at NC State.

Many of the sources were drawn from the limited SAAC holdings available at NC State's Special Collections. These include SAAC documents and newspaper articles from the student newspaper, the Technician.

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Crossing the Color Line: A Place of Their Own, 1973-1975

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Crossing the Color Line: A Place of Their Own, 1973-1975 explores the efforts of several NC State students, particularly the members of the Society of Afro-American Culture, in establishing an African American Cultural Center in spring 1974. The exhibit analyzes the many ways in which African American students lobbied for support of the Cultural Center and how the 1974 race relations conference at the Quail Roost Conference Center raised awareness of and support for the Cultural Center among white students.

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Crossing the Color Line: On Their Own Terms, 1972-1981

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In 1972, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sued the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) for neglecting the enforcement of desegregation in higher education.  Judge John Pratt in Adams v Richardson wrote that HEW allowed North Carolina as well as nine other states to continue receiving federal funds despite the state’s violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to this federal legislation, government agencies that received federal funds are banned from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

After almost a decade of negotiations with HEW, in 1981 North Carolina became the last state without an approved desegregation plan for higher education as state officials resisted HEW’s efforts to eliminate degree program duplication in the state’s colleges and universities. The UNC system, the single coordinating board of the state’s 16 public institutions of higher education, attempted to reframe the desegregation issue as a state’s right to govern its own academic institutions. Taking the focus off race, this colorblind defense disregarded the history of discrimination that created inequalities between historically black and white institutions.

Crossing the Color Line: On Their Own Terms, 1972-1981 examines the UNC system, which included North Carolina State University, response to efforts made by the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) to desegregating higher education.

HEW’s attempts to eliminate duplicate degree programs in the state’s colleges and universities were met with resistance. North Carolina was the last state to get an approved desegregation plan because officials of the UNC system felt that HEW was violating their right to control their own academic institutions.

This exhibit contains oral interviews produced by The Southern Oral History Program.

Visit other Exhibits in Crossing the Color Line.

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Crossing the Color Line: One at a Time, 1950-1960


Crossing the Color Line: One at a Time, 1950-1960, examines the initial period of desegregation and integration at NC State University in a state and national context.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) system, like the state of North Carolina as a whole, embraced a centrist approach to desegregation, which stressed moderation and gradualism. Although no rioting took place on NC State's campus, it would take a number of federal court cases to ensure that African American students would be able to enroll at the university.

This exhibit utilizes correspondence between NC State Administrators and other leaders in the UNC University system. Transciptions of relevant Supreme Court cases have also been included.

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