The Illusion of Inclusion | About

Project History

"The Illusion of Inclusion: Creating Space and Crafting Identity in The Nubian Message, 1990 to 2014," began as a class assignment in Dr. Susanna Lee's Fall 2014 course, Theory and Practice of Digital History, at North Carolina State University. Working in groups, students were asked to select a topic related to the history of the university and create an original digital history project that explored that topic. Students were to apply theoretical and practical knowledge about digital history, gained through their coursework, to the digitized collections of items, individuals exhibits, and collaborative project pages that they created about their topic.

For their project, Rose Buchanan, Madison Cates, and Cheryl Dong chose to explore the history of The Nubian Message and of race relations on NC State's campus from the 1990s to the present. The Nubian Message, NC State's first African American student newspaper, was founded in 1992 after allegations of racial bias in the campus' main student newspaper, the Technician. The paper has and continues to be a voice for the African American community on campus and an advocate of change in race relations more broadly.

For more information on project creators, please visit the Site Creators page.

Project Objectives

  • To explore the circumstances leading up to the founding of The Nubian Message in 1992, including but not limited to allegations of racial bias in the Technician
  • To connect the diverse themes and opinions presented in The Nubian Message during the 1990s to the African-American community's ongoing struggle against racism in society (known as the long civil rights movement)
  • To examine continuities and changes in The Nubian Message's coverage of racial issues in the 2000s
  • To challenge the idea that America is a "post-racial" society by using The Nubian Message as a lens into race relations in the 1990s and 2000s
  • To investigate how digital technologies can be used to analyze, interpret, and present history to the public in new and exciting ways



The Illusion of Inclusion uses Dublin Core metadata standards for all collection items. Items appearing in exhibits and project pages are part of the collection, “The Nubian Message," and have a resolution between 150 and 200 dpi. The Nubian Message collection contains digitized images of The Nubian Message, the Technician, and related materials.

Tools used in this project include the Neatline Time plugin for Omeka, which allowed project authors to create the interactive timeline featured on their project page.

Selection of Sources:

Technician articles used in this project are drawn from existing digitized collections made available online by the NC State Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). The Nubian Message articles used were digitized by the SCRC specifically for this project. Both Technician and Nubian Message articles are selected for inclusion in the project based on the ways in which they exemplify project themes. For example, pre-1992 Technician articles that reveal racial bias against African Americans are included to show the impetus for students to found The Nubian Message.


Informal evaluations of the project were conducted prior to exhibit creation (front-end evaluation) and once preliminary exhibits and project pages were published on Omeka (formative evaluation). NC State history students were given a front-end evaluation that assessed their knowledge of historical race relations on campus and of The Nubian Message more specifically. High school history teachers were also asked early on about ways to make the project accessible to and applicable for Advanced Placement U.S. History students. These same teachers offered suggestions about lesson plans, project vocabulary, and other topics in a second, formative evaluation. At each stage of the evaluation process, project creators took evaluators' suggestions into serious consideration and did their best to address evaluators' interests and concerns in revisions.

Citation Guide

Citations used in this project follow the standard guidelines presented in the Chicago Manual of Style.

To cite exhibit text, please adhere to the following format:

  • Note form: "Exhibit title," The State of History, accessed [full access date: i.e. November 4, 2014], URL.
  • Bibliographic form: "Exhibit title." The State of History. Accessed [full access date: i.e. November 4, 2014]. URL.

To cite items, please adhere to the following format:

  • Note form: "Title of the item," The State of History, accessed [full access date: i.e. November 4, 2014], URL.
  • Bibliographic form: "Title of the item." The State of History. Accessed [full access date: i.e. November 4, 2014]. URL.

Statement of Copyright

Project creators do not own copyright to the items presented in this exhibit. Items are digital images of materials housed in the North Carolina State University Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). Contact the SCRC for copyright information.

Individuals are responsible for using the information presented in project pages and exhibits in accordance with United States copyright laws and fair use practices.


Project creators are indebted to numerous people for their advice and technical assistance throughout this project. Special thanks go to:

  • Todd Kosmerick, Cathy Dorin-Black, Brian Dietz, and the rest of the NC State Special Collections Research Center staff for their help with research and digitization.
  • Chris Langford, who participated in a formative evaluation of the exhibits and who provided invaluable insight into high school history education
  • The Fall 2014 Civilization of the Old South class at NC State, who participated in a front-end evaluation of the project.