Skip to Content
North Carolina Newspapers

Black ink : Black Student Movement, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. online resource ([Chapel Hill, N.C.]) 1969-current, February 10, 1993, Image 7

Below is the OCR text representation of this newspaper page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

I FEBRUARY 10, 19^ COVER STORY 7 f History campus of Chapel Hill is nothing new nee known. A list of demands put to then- iiancellor J. Carlyle Sitterson in 969 by the Black Student Move- nent, called for not only an Afro- Vmerican Studies E>e()artment, but i vast improvement in the salaries md “the intolerable woricing condi- ions of non-academic employees.” Such demands are almost mir- ored by the demands given to cur- ent chancellor Paul Hardin, which ailed for an African American and African Studies Department and the mmediate improvement of the I'orking conditions and the salaries f the UNC Housekeeping staff. The sight of hundreds of stu- ents flooding the offices, stair wells and front steps of South Build- ig in September recalls the earher :ene of Manning Hall in the )ring of 1969, during a BSM-or- inized food workers’ strike. Cureton Johnson, founder of Hack Ink, recalls the incident “We started out picketing the ifeteria at first, discouraging wple from eating there. When |ople went in anyway, we came throwing chairs until everyone Bt cleared out Some people were lermined to go back in, so when idemonstrated at 1977 :Day. they did, we cleared them out again. “The second time, the Chapel Hill police came, so we left—and went to take over Manning Hall. We stayed up in there a couple of weeks surrounding it with picket lines. They called the Highway Pa trol, but we stood there face to face with them. Folks would call us kind of crazy, but not only did the food workers get a raise, but the mini mum wage in the state of North Carolina went up that year.” The BSM, which was formed in 1968, was known for being a mili tant group. Johnson was listed in Black Ink as the “HNIC (Head Nigga’ In Charge)” and the “man aging HNIC” as opposed to the edi- t(ar and managing editor. “We got that term from the president of Malcolm X University in Durham,” he said. The “university” was built as an alternative institution which focused on black culture. “Students dropped out of Duke to go there,” Johnson recalls. The Ink covered stwies on other campuses and stories breaking worldwide that dealt with the trials of black people. “We called our selves i^an-Africanists,” Johnson said. “Anything that had to do with brothers and sisters was important to us.” For this reason, the station of the food work ers, who were mostly from the Chaj)el Hill-Carrboro area and mostly black, became their cause. In 1970, it became the James Cates incident Stu dents alleged that Cates was stabbed to death by three members of a mo torcycle gang called the Storm Troopers, who were known for harassing blacks with racial slurs uid violence. The knifing occurred (luring an all-night dance It the Carolina Union. \lthough there were sev eral eyewitnesses and even a testimony from a Marches on South Building are nothing new. Chapel Hill police office saying he heard one Storm Trooper planning to “kill a nigger,” the all white jury concluded that there was not sig nificant evidence to convict the three bikers. Students responded by firebombing the Institute of Phar macy at UNC, causing over $100,000 in damage. “None of us ever got kicked out, “Johnson said. “There were only about 60 of us there and they needed to keep us in order to get federal funding.” The late seventies saw less con troversial issues, but a great deal of activism. “I remember marching every University Day while 1 was here,” Dean Fuse-Hall said. “One year we marched against David Duke speaking at Memorial Hall, one year it was for Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone’s tenure, another year they tried to lake away Upendo...” Upendo Lounge, longtime ha ven for black students at UNC was equivalent to a South Campus Union. Located in part of what is now Chase Dining Hall, it was the center of cultural activity for South Campus, where the black students were concentrated. In 1985, the administration suc ceeded in taking the lounge away, converting it into the cafeteria which covers the entire bottom floor of the building. “Nobody really said much,” said Eric Walker, class of 1987. “We were pretty upset, but only a small vocal minority of us fought against it” Walker, who was nicknamed “Wacko” for his extreme antics headed the UNC Anti-Apartheid Support Group. Walker was ar rested twice for chaining himself to South Building, building and camp ing out in shanties like those found in South Africa, During this time, talks about the Black Culuiral Center began. ‘The big deal became choosing a spot for the BCC,” said Willa-Jo Greene, a 1988 Pharmacy School graduate. Greene said most of the attention went to projects that the members of black greek organizations look under their wings. Tammy Gilliam, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., organized a BCC awareness week encouraging people to oppose the center’s current location. She re ceived, however, very little support from her fellow black students, whose number had reached over 1800 by 1985. “There was a lot of tension and a lot of talk,” Greene said. “But only those of us who could conceptual ize a tiny room representing the wholeof black culture were angry.” The same general complacency carried over to nineties, among the universitiy’s 2100 black students until the Summer of 1992. With talks of a concrete plan for a free standing building, the protesters have quieted, but the underlying tensions, students say, still prevail. “I never believed UNC was the liberal flagship institution it was hyped up to be,” said Brown. “It’s ridiculous how black students have continued to get the runaround by the administration.” Universtiy officials, however have not shared the dissatisfaction. In response to the student de mands in 1969, former chancellor, Sitterson repUed,“I think itisclear... that the university is making a genu ine effort to be of greater service to the disadvantaged of our state—all races, colors and creeds.”

North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.

Digital North Carolina