An exhibit tracing the history of African American faculty, staff, and students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), from its opening as the State Normal and Industrial School in 1892 until 1971.
Henderson Faribault was the first head cook at State Normal. He was later assisted by and then succeeded by his son Edmund.
A list of the numbers of African Americans employed by State Normal in various service roles, including their pay rate. While some are listed by name, most are not.
Photograph of an unidentified woman cleaning laundry at the State Normal and Industrial School. Sadly, the names of many of the African Americans who worked at State Normal have been lost to history.
Campus dining hall employees working in the kitchen in 1929.
Ezekiel Robinson returned to campus numerous times after his official retirement in 1944, typically at the annual Founder's Day celebration in October.
College vice president Walter C. Jackson writes to president Julius I. Foust requesting that African American students at North Carolina A&T be allowed to borrow books from the college library.
Foust responds to Jackson's request, noting that he will consult with the campus physician to determine "any danger that may arise from disease" in lending books to African American students.
Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, founder of the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, NC (just east of Greensboro), wrote many letters to leaders at the college, requesting that her students be allowed to attend cultural events on campus. Her requests were repeated denied due to the strict Jim Crow laws mandating segregating in public facilities.
Debates over library use by African American students continued into the early 1950s. The library was open in allowing use, but Chancellor Edward Kidder Graham sought a formal policy specifically restricting African-American use of the library facilities.
Warren Ashby, a philosophy professor, publicly endorsed school desegregation in a letter to the Greensboro Daily News and led a faculty council resolutions supporting the desegregation of UNC campuses in 1955. He also organized a group of faculty members who regularly met for lunch at the YMCA with faculty members from A&T.
Chancellor Gordon Blackwell was opposed to the sit-ins, and addressed the university at large on Tuesday, February 9 (the fourth day of the sit ins), expressing his concern over the possibility of violence and of setting back the civil rights movement, and also for the employees and economic welfare of the dime store chains.
A parent of one of the white Woman's College students who participated in the Sit Ins writes to Chancellor Blackwell in defense of her daughter's actions.
This video, produced in 1990, recounts WC student participation in the 1960 Sit Ins through interviews with former students, voice-overs, local tv footage, photographs, and reenactments of the events.
While WC Chancellor Otis Singletary felt he had any authority over the private businesses on Tate Street, he did meet with many business owners and request that all students be served. He also warned that a student-led protest might be forthcoming.
Karen Lynn Parker, who attended Woman's College from 1961 to 1963, recalls the pickets and protests of segregated businesses on Tate Street in 1963.
Odessa Patrick was the first African American hired as an academic staff member. She came to Woman's College in 1959 as a laboratory technician in the Biology Department, where she was responsible for preparing and managing laboratory equipment for biology class use. She was promoted to Instructor in 1968. While most were welcoming, one faculty member did tell her that he didn’t think the college was “quite ready for hiring Negroes in non-traditional jobs.”
Ernestine Small was the first African-American appointed as a full-time faculty at UNCG, joining the faculty of the School of Nursing in 1967. She worked at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro before beginning graduate school at Catholic University.
Dr. Joseph Himes spent 23 years at North Carolina Central University as a professor of sociology prior to joining the faculty at UNCG. In 1969, he became the first African American faculty member at UNCG to hold tenure when we was named a professor in the sociology department.
This exhibit was created by staff in the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and the Electronic Resources and Information Technology departments of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro University Libraries.
If you have questions about the exhibit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.