Race & Space | About the Project

About the Project: History and Objectives

We originally conceptualized this exhibit as an exploration of race and athletics on NC State's campus. We set out to interrogate the political, social, cultural, and economic shifts and changes that came about when NC State began integrating its basketball and football teams. We chose this focus because, beginning in the 1970s, football and basketball became major cash cows for universities and provided big draws and opportunities for black student athletes. 

However, as we began our research in NC State's Special Collections archives, we quickly discovered that NC State's records--at least those that survived--made little mention of athletic integration. While budget reports, team rosters, and photographs exist, the administration and the newspapers on campus rarely chose to discuss it.

Having encountered this roadblock, we reconceptualized how we could approach these questions. We eventually realized that the impact of racial integration and the disputes over space on campus that occured on a daily basis during the 1960s and 1970s were not limited to the field or the court. All spaces were contested, and space and integration were inextricably linked.  

Once we locked onto this new framework for interrogation, we identified and researched NC State's contested space during the immediate post-integration period. We identified four main kinds of space: the student body, the workplace, the community, and the athletics department. In each of these distinct spaces, NC State's communities won, lost, and contested space in unique ways. 

Our objective in this spatial history project was to interrogate an old subject through a new lens. How does looking at integration in spatial terms change how we discuss it? Does it change the narrative? 

Intended Audience

We set out to write this project for a reasonably broad public. Those with a background in history or similar humanities fields will benefit, but we believe the project is relevant for anyone with an interest in racial history. While we relied on scholarly methodology, standards, and practices, we tried to present this information in a way that is accessible, interesting, and engaging to a general public. 

Project's Methodological, Interpretive, and Technological Decisions 

Race & Space investigates NC State's racial integration as a long process of spatial negotiation. Therefore, Race & Space interrogated each document in relation to its impact on the physical environment. Our ThingLink map allows our readers to visualize the spatial changes occuring in and around the NC State campus from 1965-1985. Each map grounds the reader and exemplifies that these moments of integration  were not static events, but rather dynamic experiences of black bodies moving through traditionally white spaces. NC State's black students, employees, and surrounding communities carved out their own safe spaces through a series of ongoing negotiations.

We chose to use ThingLink for our visualization tool because of its interactive capabilities, relative ease of use, and aesthetic value. ThingLink is one of the leading platforms for creating interactive images and can be easily embedded on websites.

A majority of our research took place in North Carolina State University's Special Collections. We scoured the physical collections that were applicable to NC State's integration and utilized the digitized portions of the collections. We digitized the majority of the item files uploaded to the exhibits. Additionally, Special Collections staff did digitize a few sources for Race & Space: The Workplace.  In addition to NC State's Special Collections, Race & Space: The Community was also informed by sources from the State Archive of North Carolina.


It is important to note that Race & Space strictly identified NC State students, faculty, and staff as "black" throughout our narrative. During the exhibit's time period of 1965-1985, a majority of Raleigh's and NC State's black community self-identified as "black" rather than the more current term "African-American." We felt it was important to correctly use the terminology employed in the past.

Proper Citation Guidelines

In citing our primary and secondary sources in our exhibits, we adhered to Chicago Manual of Style. Our references page has bibliographic listings of primary and secondary sources. All of the items we added to this site follow Dublin Core standards for metadata. 


All of our collaborators are Public History students at NC State. Mandy Benter, an MA student, is interested in exhibit development and design and does most of her research on public engagement, oral history, and American race history. Howard Davis, a PhD student, is interested in teaching modern American history with an emphasis on modern race history, especially the Great Migration. Josie Titus, an MA student, is interested in research development and administration in non-profit historical museums and does most of her research on 20th-century American and European history. Samantha Vandermeade, an MA student, is interested in concepts of collective identity, meaning-making, and cultural semiotics and does most of her research on 20th-century American gender history.

Statement of Intellectual Property and Copyright

Most of the photographs, documents, and sources we utilized, referenced, or published on this site were obtained with full permission from the North Carolina State University Special Collections. We intend for our site to be explored, used, and cited by anyone who desires to learn more about history. 

The State of History is created by the History Department of North Carolina State University and powered by Omeka.