Civil Rights

UNC Press

  

The struggle for education equality in North Carolina was hard-fought for more than four decades.

It was not only a struggle for facilities that were equal to white schools, but a fight for integration and civic inclusion. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sarah Caroline Thuesen, author of “Greater Than Equal: African American Struggles for Schools and Citizenship in North Carolina, 1919-1965,” and a professor of history at Guilford College.

The four girls killed in the bombing (Clockwise from top left, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/76587168@N06/ / flickr.com

  

On September 15th, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The explosion killed four little girls and injured 22 others. In the violent aftermath of the bombing, two little boys were murdered.

Fred Battle went to NC A & T in the 1960s and talks about his experience getting arrested for civil rights protests.
Alexander Stephens

Today in our “August 1963” series, we hear from Fred Battle. Battle was a football star for the Mighty Tigers of Chapel Hill’s Lincoln High School, before being awarded an athletic scholarship to North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. It was there that his participation in civil rights actions expanded.

My name is Fred Battle, and in August of 1963 I was entering into my sophomore year at North Carolina A&T State University. And we were up in the D.C. area where we were playing Quantico Marines in a football game.

Millie Dunn Veasey went to the March on Washington and was the first female president of the Raleigh-Wake NAACP.
Alexander Stephens

Our “August 1963” series continues today with Millie Dunn Veasey. Veasey is 95 years old—she was born in Raleigh in 1918. During World War II, she served overseas with the Women’s Army Corps. Veasey returned home to attend St. Augustine’s College, where she worked as executive secretary to President James Boyer. While there, she became active in the Raleigh civil rights movement, eventually serving as the first female president of the Raleigh-Wake NAACP.

Howard Clement is serving his 30th and final year as a councilmember this fall.
City of Durham

Today in our “August 1963” series looking back at North Carolina at the time of the March on Washington, we meet Howard Clement. Howard, as his friends say, is one of the few people in Durham everyone knows simply by his first name. He first moved to Durham in 1961, shortly after finishing law school, to work as an attorney for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.

March 1964: the Holy Week fasters. James Foushee is on the far right. Others, from L to R, are Patrick Cusick, LaVert Taylor and John Dunne.
Copyright Al Amon, From the John Ehle Papers (#4555), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Our series, “August 1963,” continues to look back at North Carolina at the time of the March on Washington. Today we hear from James Foushee. As a teenager in Chapel Hill, he emerged as one of the leaders of the local civil rights movement.

My name is James Foushee. August of 1963, the 28th day, I was at the March on Washington in Washington, D.C.

Carrie Farrington
Alexander Stephens

Today we begin our series, “August 1963,” a look at North Carolina at the time of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This week marks the 50th anniversary of the march, and producer Alexander Stephens asked North Carolinians to think back to August of ‘63.

My name is Carrie Farrington. In August of 1963, I was a rising seventh grader at Chapel Hill Junior High School.

MLK
US Govt.

Busloads of people are headed to Washington, DC tomorrow to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, and North Carolina will be well represented.

Andrea Harris was 15 years old in 1963 when Martin Luther King Junior gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.”

“The Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity," King said 50 years ago.

“I didn’t go then so I have to go now," said Harris.

Harris heads the North Carolina Institute for Minority Economic Development in Durham.

Submitted by Mandy Carter / Bayard Rustin Commemorative Alliance

    

Five decades ago, more than 200,000 people from all over the country gathered on the National Mall to call for racial and economic equality. Next week, participants will once again gather in Washington to mark the anniversary of the March on Washington, a pivotal moment in American history.

Julius Chambers
Citizenplastic / commons.wikimedia.org

In 1948, William Chambers, a black maintenance worker in Montgomery County, NC was denied payment for a job by a white customer. William Chambers spent many afternoons searching for an attorney to represent him, but all the white lawyers he asked refused. William told this story to his son, Julius Chambers, who then vowed to become a lawyer and fight for justice.

Julius Chambers
Ferguson, Chambers and Sumter

Charlotte commemorated a civil rights heavy-weight Thursday.  Julius Chambers fought for equality through the courts and argued some of the cases that helped integrate Charlotte’s schools and businesses.

He had a lot of hatred directed at him as an African-American challenging prejudice, but he never let that make him bitter. Instead, Chambers set up North Carolina’s first law firm to employ both black and white lawyers, partly to serve as an example of the integration he fought for.  He died last week.

Julius Chambers
Ferguson, Chambers and Sumter

    

Julius Chambers has been a fixture on North Carolina’s legal scene for decades, helping lead the battle for civil rights and playing an instrumental role in the desegregation of Charlotte/Mecklenburg schools.

He died last Friday at 76.

Julius Chambers
Ferguson, Chambers and Sumter

Friends and the state's legal community are honoring the life of Julius Chambers who died last week.  He was 76 years old. 

Chambers was active in the 1960s Civil Rights movement, founding the law firm that became North Carolina's first integrated practice.  A statement from the Ferguson, Chambers and Sumter firm said Chambers argued eight cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and won all of them. 

Greenville Federal Courthouse
Eastern District of NC, US District Court

A federal judge will hear opening arguments today in a case that pits African-American parents against the Pitt County Schools. 

Pitt County, like many school districts in North Carolina, has a long history of segregation in its schools. About a dozen or so districts in the state are still under an active desegregation court-order, first issued in the 1960's, that requires them to be supervised by the federal courts.

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum faces ongoing financial struggles, and the Greensboro mayor wants the city to take it over.
Jeff Tiberii

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum opened in Greensboro nearly three and a half years ago.  A national sit-in movement began on February 1st, 1960 at an F.W. Woolworth lunch counter on Elm Street, and today that site remains a commemoration and celebration of a chapter in American history.

Gene Kendall, Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke and Nathaniel White Jr., the three surviving members of the first five undergraduate students to integrate Duke, attend their class reunion on April 21, 2012.
Duke University

Duke University celebrates 50 years of black students on Saturday, with an address by U.S. Senator William "Mo" Cowan.  The Massachusetts Democrat is a 1991 Duke graduate and one of two African-Americans currently in the U.S. Senate.

University of Georgia Press

  Medgar Evers’s assassination was a spark that motivated social activists and inspired writers, poets and journalists. Artists like Bob Dylan, Eudora Welty and James Baldwin have contributed to the collective memory of Evers through their own works.

Minrose Gwin, professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks to host Frank Stasio about her new book, “Remembering Medgar Evers” (University of Georgia Press/2013).

Left to right: David “Chip” Richmond (son of the late David L. Richmond), Franklin McCain Sr. '63, Jibreel Khazan '63 & Joseph A. McNeil '63, standing in front of the statue commemorating the A&T Four.
courtesy of North Carolina A&T State University RelationsA&T Four.

Four civil rights pioneers will be honored Friday in Greensboro on the 53rd anniversary of their famous sit-in. North Carolina State University A&T Freshman Joe McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain and David Richmond sat down at an all-white Woolworth’s lunch sparking a significant movement in the Jim Crow South.

What did Chapel Hill look like during the Civil Rights Movement? Photographer Jim Wallace captured images for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel. But Wallace didn’t see fire hoses or police dogs turned on protesters.

Last month, a conference in Greensboro brought together more than 70 attorneys, activists and average citizens to talk about human and civil rights violations at the hands of law enforcement. Among the issues discussed were racial profiling, police brutality, mass incarceration, torture and rendition. The event was a call to action and the message was that every member of society is responsible for speaking out about abuses of state power.

The “Freedom Rallies” of 1963 were remembered and honored yesterday with a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker. 

The “Freedom Rallies” took place in the town of Williamston – in Martin County.  For 32 days – hundreds of mostly African Americans held mass meetings and marches, anchored at Green Memorial Church.  Diane Carr was 12-years-old during the “Freedom Rallies” and remembers singing and marching to the courthouse to demand equal rights.

The North Carolina Museum of History launched a new online exhibit today that takes a close-up look at the struggle for equal and civil rights across the state. 

As soon as you log onto the website – you are serenaded by Sam Cooke.  The name of the exhibit is “A Change is Gonna Come: Black, Indian and White Voices for Racial Equality.”  It covers the years 1830 to 1980 – from the Indian Removal Act to the rise and fall of Soul City.  Earl Ijames is the curator of the exhibit. He says it was going to be a physical exhibit before the 2008 recession.

Some historians refer to the Civil War as the “war between the states" – a white man’s war.  But to many people of color – it was the “war for freedom.” And during this mighty war, no other place in North Carolina had more “free” slaves than New Bern.

When the Union Army seized the city, word spread fast. Slaves travelled from across the state and outside its borders to get to New Bern.

Michael Gerhardt
law.unc.edu

The 14th Amendment may be the most hotly debated 2,000 words in American history. It was adopted on July 9, 1868 and is considered the most important of the “Reconstruction Amendments.” Those amendments - the 13th, 14th and 15th - reconfigure the relationship between the states and the federal government. Among other things, they put the federal government in the position of monitoring the way states protect civil rights.

history.unc.edu

Heather Williams experienced racism for the first time when she moved to Brooklyn from Jamaica at 11 years old. That’s when she discovered that black was considered bad in the United States, though she didn't know why. Her high school library’s Black Studies section began her education in racial history. Her fascination with the subject would lead her to one day become a civil rights lawyer, and later, a teacher of history.

A group of African American residents in Brunswick County have taken their claims of environmental injustice to court. 

The Royal Oak community has a history going back to slavery.  Today, there are about 300 African American residents living in this unincorporated section of Brunswick County.  But their community also houses a waste transfer station, a sewage treatment plant, the animal shelter and the county’s only landfill.  Lewis Dozier is president of the Royal Oak Concerned Citizens Association.

The childhood home of a renowned human rights leader is about to get a major face-lift in southwest Durham.

 Pauli Murray was an attorney, Civil Rights activist and the first African American female Episcopal priest.  The house her grandfather built in the 1890s sits way off Carroll Street in Durham’s West End. Sarah Bingham was one of several people to walk through the two-story house yesterday. She says it’s in pretty good shape.

Sarah Bingham:  "I see possibilities everywhere."

Inge:  "It looks kind of fragile though."

Attorneys with the UNC-Chapel Hill Law School’s Center for Civil Rights say the three separate school districts in Halifax County are inherently unequal. 

Civil rights and labor leader Margaret Turner has died. She was involved in numerous struggles for civil rights in Durham. Turner played an important role in turning people out to events and speaking up at work and in the community.

State Senator Floyd McKissick knew Turner and says she was one of the “unsung heroes” of the movement:

Writer Langston Hughes is famous for uplifting poems like "I, Too" and lyrical poetry like “A Dream Deferred,” but North Carolina State Assistant Professor of English Jason Miller says that hidden within Hughes' works are powerful statements about the practice of lynching. Host Frank Stasio talks to Miller about his new book, "Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture” (University Press of Florida/2011).

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