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March 1964:  Photograph of Holy Week fasters Click on the above image to go directly to the documents and photographs for Episode I. (Above: March 1964: Photograph of Holy Week fasters in front of the Franklin Street post office; Photograph Copyright Al Amons)

Part 1: Integration Sit-ins

On 1 February 1960, four young black men from North Carolina A & T University walked into Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C., sat down at the lunch counter, and requested service. This simple act sent reverberations throughout the Jim Crow South and across the nation, motivating others into civil disobedience to push for equal treatment of all races.

The effects of these bold challenges to the age-old status quo quickly reached Chapel Hill, inspiring a group of students from segregated Lincoln High School to conduct the town's first sit-in just four weeks later, on 28 February, at Colonial Drug, a West Franklin Street drugstore and segregated lunch counter near several African American neighborhoods. On this afternoon, the young black students sat down in a booth at Colonial Drug, refused to leave when they were denied service, and then were arrested and charged with trespassing. Intense picketing campaigns soon followed outside Colonial Drug and the segregated Long Meadow Dairy Bar, Bus Station Grill, and Village Pharmacy. Thus, the integration movement in Chapel Hill in the 1960s began with the actions of these courageous Lincoln High students.

The struggle then turned its focus on the two segregated movie houses in Chapel Hill: the Varsity and the Carolina Theater. These efforts initiated a period of broad cooperation among various groups of activists, resulting in the integration of both theaters by January 1961. These successes set the stage for the resolute desegregation demonstrations of 1963-1964 that reached every part of Chapel Hill and the University.

This period was marked by heavy involvement of a small corps of UNC students, in partnership with church leaders, community activists, and a handful of University professors, along with many leaders and participants from the African American community. UNC student Patrick Cusick, representing the tiny Student Peace Union, in April 1963 began a solitary picket of the College Café on Franklin Street, one of a number of popular Chapel Hill establishments that did not serve black patrons. A few other students, John Dunne perhaps most well-known among them, soon joined the picketing, which quickly spread and multiplied to other establishments.

Many national civil rights leaders hoped that Chapel Hill would become the first southern town to desegregate its public accommodations fully and officially. As the protests grew in size and number, however, many citizens in the traditionally quiet, liberal town of Chapel Hill were surprised by the forceful reaction to the protesters and the stubborn, and sometimes violent, determination of several restaurant owners to maintain segregated facilities. Protesters were struck by broom handles, kicked, doused with ammonia, and even urinated upon by defiant business owners, but the protesters never responded with violence in turn.

By December 1963, sit-ins at segregated Chapel Hill restaurants had become almost daily events, with many arrests of students like Cusick, Dunne, Karen Parker, and Charles Thompson, along with non-students. In January 1964, a "Walk for Freedom" from Durham to Chapel Hill attempted to boost passage of a public accommodations ordinance, which then was narrowly defeated by the Chapel Hill Board of Aldermen. National civil rights leaders James Farmer and Floyd McKissick participated in the march, and an anti-civil disobedience protest by students countered it. By February, demonstrations had become even more widespread and varied; one even tried to block traffic after the UNC-Wake Forest basketball game. In March, Dunne and Cusick instigated a Holy Week fast in front of the Franklin Street post office, which, among other things, inspired a major Ku Klux Klan rally in the area.

In the end, a number of students, including Cusick, Dunne, and Lou Calhoun, along with community organizers like Quinton Baker, served active prison sentences, and afterward left the state by court order. A number of Chapel Hill businesses remained formally segregated until the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act in June 1964.

Note: John Ehle's remarkable book, The Free Men (Harper and Row, 1965), was an especially valuable source for this brief overview and the descriptions that follow. In February 2007, a new edition of the book was published by Press 53 of Lewisville, N.C. Both editions of the book are available through UNC Library, click here to search for them in the library's online catalog. Ehle's papers, which include notes, photographs, and taped interviews made for The Free Men, are available to the public in the Southern Historical Collection in the Manuscripts Department. Click here to view the finding aid.


Documents and Photographs
[Note: Due to copyright issues, some documents and photographs have not been made available online. To research these documents further, please visit the Manuscripts Department's website for more information.]

1. February 1960: Photograph, Picketers in front of Long Meadow Dairy Bar
Inspired by the sit-ins in Greensboro, a core of young black activists - comprised primarily of students from segregated Lincoln High School - took to the streets in late February of 1960 to advocate for equal service in Chapel Hill businesses. Demonstrators employed a number of arguments to make their case. Some appealed to Christian brotherhood, while others asked the United States to live up to its own promises of democracy and equality. The placard that reads "Kruschev Can Eat Here But We Can't" plays on this latter tactic by calling attention to the contradictions between Cold War ideology and domestic conditions.
- From Roland Giduz Papers (#4601)

Leaflet, 'Wanted: Picketers', March 1960 Catalog #2: Leaflet, "Wanted Picketers," March 1960.

2. March 1960: Leaflet, "Wanted: Picketers"
Shortly after the first sit-ins began in Chapel Hill, this leaflet was used to recruit new members to the cause, as well as to outline the motivations behind their actions. The leaflet highlights a strict adherence to the tenets of nonviolent protest: "We welcome picketers of any race, high school age and beyond, ONLY if they agree THAT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES will they resort to violence." The front of the leaflet invites volunteers to "see or call David B. Dansby or Richard Strowd." In 1961, Dansby earned the distinction of becoming the first black undergraduate to earn a degree from Carolina.
- From the Records of the Office of Chancellor - William B. Aycock Series (#40020)

3. 4 July 1963: Photograph, Harold Foster
In the days following the first sit-in in Chapel Hill on 28 February 1960, local African American youths formed the Chapel Hill Council on Racial Equality, with an executive committee and three sub-committees to direct the near-daily protest activities. The goal of these sub-committees was to picket, negotiate, inform, and gain support in the community. Chapel Hillian Harold Foster was selected to be the chair of the executive committee. In his book The Free Men, John Ehle wrote, "Harold had been born and reared in Chapel Hill, and although he now attended North Carolina College, a state Negro college in Durham, he continued to live at home. He was a bright, nineteen-year-old, good-looking fellow who wore sports clothes well and spoke in a soft, in fact a mellow yet clipped speech, with a Beat tinge to his choice of words." Harold Foster (center) is shown here pointing out the segregated Colonial Drug Co.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

4. 12 June 1963: Advertisement for the Colonial Drug Co.
John Carswell '43 was the owner of Colonial Drug, which stood at 450 West Franklin Street at the unofficial border between the white and black communities of Chapel Hill. This full-page advertisement, which ran in the Chapel Hill Weekly, was his declaration: "We will not be Intimidated or Coerced by Certain Alphabetical Organizations or Committees under the Disguise of 'Betterment of Certain Groups or Races'." A copy of the advertisement hung in the front window of the store.
- Copyright Chapel Hill News, reproduction on loan from the Chapel Hill Museum

5. May 1960: A Report to the Citizens of Chapel Hill
The Council of Racial Equality took out a full-page ad in the Weekly to give an update on the ten weeks of activities that followed the first sit-in in Chapel Hill on 28 February 1960. This report illustrates how the movement slowly began to enlist other groups from the community, including a small, unidentified group of UNC students. "We are grateful that this is a community where we do not stand alone."
- Copyright Chapel Hill News, reproduction on loan from the Chapel Hill Museum

6. Undated: Pamphlet, Congress of Racial Equality
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded in 1942 in Chicago by James L. Farmer Jr., George Houser, and Bernice Fisher. From the beginning, CORE used nonviolence as a tactic against segregation. In spring 1947, CORE sent members on a two-week "Journey of Reconciliation" through the South in an effort to end segregation in interstate travel. In 1961, this journey was retraced by "the Freedom Ride," that met with severe violence and sparked similar rides across the South. In the mid-1960s, CORE encouraged indigenous action—a tactic of struggle which gave the movement multiple fronts across the nation. Chapters of CORE were soon chartered in Durham and later in Chapel Hill.
- From David Schenck Papers (#5288)

Summer 1963:  Photograph, CORE organizer Quinton Baker leads a practice march Catalog #7: CORE organizer Quinton Baker leads a practice march, Summer 1963.

7. Summer 1963: Photograph, CORE organizer Quinton Baker leads a practice march
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was a vital element in the Chapel Hill desegregation movement, injecting it with much-needed guidance from its experienced leaders. In the early 1960s, the Durham office of CORE was headed by Floyd McKissick, who had been among the first African American students to attend the Law School at UNC. McKissick acted as the attorney for many demonstrators arrested in Chapel Hill. In 1963, McKissick asked Quinton Baker, one of his most seasoned and trusted organizers, to go to Chapel Hill to give seminars on the philosophy of nonviolence and to teach effective demonstration tactics to local activists. Here Baker is shown leading a practice protest march, followed by local leader Harold Foster.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

8. 1965: Copy of The Free Men by John Ehle
The Chapel Hill civil rights movement began to pick up momentum by summer 1963, reaching its zenith in winter 1963/1964, and continuing some activity until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in summer 1964. This year-long period was chronicled in The Free Men by North Carolina author John Ehle. Published by Harper & Row in 1965, The Free Men reported on the events of the movement through the story of three of its main leaders: UNC student leaders John Dunne and Patrick Cusick and CORE organizer Quinton Baker.
- From the North Carolina Collection (Call Number - C326 E33f )

9. Circa 1964: Photograph of John Dunne
- Photograph unattributed, from John Ehle Papers (#4555)

10. 22 May 1963: Letter from John Winslow[?] to President William Friday
"I wonder how this young man has the time to travel the country over officiously intermeddling, giving out 'interviews' like this and keeping up with his Morhead [sic] Foundation studies?"
- From the Records of the Office of President - William C. Friday Files (#40009)

11. 17 March 1963: "A Resolution of the UNC Chapter of the Student Peace Union"
The resolution laid out the purpose of the Student Peace Union (SPU), lists businesses where discriminatory practices were maintained, and reached out to all Carolina students: "We feel that all students have a moral and intellectual obligation to join their ranks."
- From the Records of the Office of President - William C. Friday Files (#40009)

12. 6 June 1963: Letter from eight professors from the UNC School of Law to President William Friday
In spring 1963, the student chapter of the NAACP petitioned the UNC Administration to eliminate segregation in ward assignments at the North Carolina Memorial Hospital. The petition was referred to a committee of the Board of Trustees. During the deliberations, several law professors penned this letter to remind President Friday of the historical role of the University as a leader in human relations and suggested that "the University adopt a policy of utilizing off-campus facilities in connection with University sponsored functions where no alumni, students, or other interested and legitimate participants would be denied access on the basis of race." The letter went on to urge that no other University services be offered to those who discriminate on the basis of race and that the athletic programs be fully integrated.
- From the Records of the Office of President - William C. Friday Files (#40009)

13. 6 August 1963: Letter from Patrick Cusick to Floyd McKissick
The letter indicates that the SPU planned to attend the March on Washington, at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
- From Floyd McKissick Papers (#4930)

14. 28 August 1963: Political cartoon by Bill Mauldin
In this cartoon, published in the Raleigh News and Observer on the morning of the March on Washington of 1963, Mauldin depicted the demonstrations as a "Powder Keg"—a reflection of the segment of the American public who felt that the march would only incite further racial tensions.
- From Terry Sanford Papers (#3531)

Rally at St. Joseph A.M.E. Church, Fall 1963 Catalog #15: Rally at St. Joseph A.M.E. Church, Fall 1963

15. Fall 1963: Photograph, Rally at St. Joseph A.M.E. Church
National attention from the March on Washington reinvigorated activists across the country. In Chapel Hill, participation in rallies and marches during this period often numbered in the hundreds, as can be seen in this photograph. Student leader John Dunne is seen in the foreground, middle-right. Also shown here is Bob Brown (foreground, at right), a community activist and later the publisher of the independent newsweekly the North Carolina Anvil.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

16. and 17. 1963: Photographs, Two opposing views from young picketers
The civil rights era saw involvement from every segment of the population, even including young children who followed those older than them into action. Shown here are young picketers on both sides of the issue.
- Photographs Copyright Jim Wallace, from John Ehle Papers (#4555)

18. 29 July 1963: Photograph, Demonstrators await transport after sit-in at the Merchants Association
The sit-in held at the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Merchants Association was the largest to date. Thirty-four protesters were arrested and charged with trespass, including Patrick Cusick (seen in Catalog item #17). This photo depicts the tactic of going limp, used by demonstrators as a way to refrain from actively resisting arrest.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, from John Ehle Papers (#4555)

19. 29 July 1963: Photograph, Patrick Cusick being loaded into a police squad car
Patrick Cusick once said in an interview that Police Chief William Blake was a formidable adversary to desegregation demonstrators. It was not because of any violent tactic he employed, but rather because he was well versed in the philosophy of civil disobedience. According to Cusick, Chief Blake had been reading works by Mahatma Gandhi since the 1940s. Blake also recognized the effect that photographic documentation could have on the minds of the general public. After a photograph was published in the Chapel Hill Weekly showing a young female demonstrator being dragged by an arresting Chapel Hill police officer, Chief Blake instructed his men henceforth to carry those being arrested.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

20. 18 May 1964: Letter from Joe Straley to Police Chief William Blake
In this letter, Straley, writing on behalf of the Committee of Concerned Citizens, gives the Chapel Hill Police Department advance warning of their picketing schedule: "We appreciate the care which has been given to keep the picketing as peaceful as it has mostly been."
- From Joseph W. Straley Papers (#5252)

21. 1965: Photograph of Karen Parker
- From 1965 Yackety Yack

22. 18 December 1963: Entry from the diary of Karen Parker
Karen Parker was encouraged by her friend Roy Thompson to maintain a journal during her time as a student at Carolina. Entries range from November 1963 through August 1964, and document the often lonesome feeling of being a black student on a white campus, as well as some of the more normal preoccupations of student life, such as attending parties and forming friendships. In this entry, Parker described how her participation in a demonstration resulted in her arrest. She wrote, "On Saturday, the 14th, I decided to go to jail. It was no fun at all."
- From the Karen L. Parker Diary (#5275-z)

23. 12 December 1963: Judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County
Christine Glover, Hope Van Riper, Charliese Cotton, and Patrick Cusick were all sentenced to 30 days in jail or payment of a $50 fine. They chose to serve their sentence rather than to pay the fine.
- From Floyd McKissick Papers (#4930)

24. December 1963: Leaflet, "Why Four People Chose Jail"
Calling on the town's spirit of the Christmas season, the statement declared, "[M]any have offered far greater sacrifices than we can to atone for the sins of others. Christmas celebrates the birth of One destined to the greatest sacrifice of all."
- From Floyd McKissick Papers (#4930)

25. December 1963: Photograph, Marchers gather in front of the Franklin Street post office
Members of several civil rights organizations staged this holiday march, carrying letters addressed to political leaders to urge anti-discrimination legislation. They requested that fellow Chapel Hill citizens follow suit to "Send Freedom Letters for Christmas."
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

Letter from Chancellor William B. Aycock to President William Friday Catalog #26: Letter from Chancellor William B. Aycock to President William Friday.

26. 19 December 1963: Letter from Chancellor William B. Aycock to President William Friday
December 1963 brought three weeks of intense, almost nightly demonstrations in Chapel Hill. Within this period, the officers of the Chapel Hill Police Department logged more than 400 hours of overtime and arrested 75 demonstrators. Among those arrested were students and members of the faculty of the University. Friday and Aycock began to receive letters from alumni urging them to take a stance on disciplining these students and faculty for their participation in off-campus activities. The UNC administration was not the only organization seeking to define its role in doling out consequences. Student Government began debating whether or not civil disobedience was a violation of the Campus Code. Aycock wrote, "I am confident that both you and I and perhaps the other chancellors will be called upon to explain why we have not dealt with the situation but, as you readily understand, we are in a dilemma."
- From the Records of the Office of Chancellor - William B. Aycock Series (#40020)

27. 20 December 1963: Statement, Office of the Student Attorney General
Chancellor Aycock followed up on his previous letter regarding Student Government and its debate about civil disobedience and the Campus Code by forwarding to President Friday this statement issued by the Office of the Student Attorney General. The statement declared that the Student Attorney General will, "upon the final disposition of each case by the North Carolina Courts, forward said case to the appropriate Student Judicial Council for action."
- From the Records of the Office of President - William C. Friday Files (#40009)

28. 7 February 1964: Statement of Michael H. Lawler, President of the Student Body
As arrests of student protesters increased, a decision had to be made as to whether or not students would be disciplined by the University, and, if so, how this would be carried out and by whom. Punishment of violations of the Campus Code had historically fallen under the purview of Student Government. Addressing the role of Student Government, Lawler urged, "There is a definite need to fashion a new civic drama in Chapel Hill. … It is time that the students of this University assert their citizenship in new and meaningful directions."
- From the Records of the Office of Chancellor - William B. Aycock Series (#40020)

29. 12 January 1964: Photograph, Durham to Chapel Hill "Walk for Freedom"
On Monday, 13 January 1964, after months of negotiation, a public accommodations ordinance was to come before the Chapel Hill Board of Aldermen for a vote. Groups on both sides of the issue prepared for the meeting. On Sunday the twelfth, a group of 170 met in Durham, heard speeches from CORE's national director James Farmer, author John Knowles, and others, then marched three hours in the freezing rain from Durham to Chapel Hill.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

30. 12 January 1964: Paid advertisement of the Chapel Hill Ministerial Association
This petition was signed by hundreds of citizens of Chapel Hill and published the day before the Board of Aldermen's meeting to decide the fate of the proposed law. "We, the persons whose names appear below, urge the passage of a public accommodations ordinance in Chapel Hill that will forbid discrimination because of race."
- From Joseph W. Straley Papers (#5252)

31. 13 January 1964: Photograph of the Board of Aldermen's public meeting
Preparing for Monday night's meeting, Mayor Sandy McClamroch and members of the Board of Aldermen met with business owners and community leaders to try to work out a compromise. In front of an overflow audience at Town Hall, the Board voted down the bill 4-2. Instead, the Board suggested that a mediation board be set up to hear individual disputes regarding segregated establishments.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, from John Ehle Papers (#4555)

32. 19 January 1964: "Pressure: How Should We Respond?"
This pamphlet, based on a sermon given by the Reverend Charles M. Jones at the Community Church of Chapel Hill on Sunday, 19 January 1964, discussed the reactions throughout Chapel Hill after the 13 January 1964 decision of the Board of Aldermen not to pass an accommodations ordinance. "No one likes to be forced even to do that which is right," it stated.
- From Allard K. Lowenstein Papers (#4340)

Protesters block Franklin Street Catalog #33: Protesters block Franklin Street.

33. 8 February 1964: Photograph, Protesters block Franklin Street
Following the Board of Aldermen's failure to pass a public accommodations ordinance, CORE national director James Farmer issued an ultimatum that Chapel Hill be fully integrated by 1 February or be prepared to face the consequences. Demonstrations intensified and the deadline passed without serious incident. Then, on 8 February, demonstrators staged a massive protest following the UNC-Wake Forest basketball game in an attempt to draw national attention to the civil rights struggle in Chapel Hill. They blocked the exits to the Woollen Gymnasium parking lots and street intersections, and attempted to throw themselves in front of advancing cars.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

34. 6 January 1964: Letter from (sender unknown) to President William Friday
Calling attention to the case of Rosemary Ezra (mistakenly referred to as "Rosemary Eliza"), the letter writer complained to President Friday that "[s]uch students reflect credit on what they may have learned from a given institution."
- From the Records of the Office of President - William C. Friday Files (#40009)

35. 14 May 1964: Letter from Rosemary Ezra to Floyd McKissick
In this letter, civil rights leader Rosemary Ezra asked McKissick to turn over her house deed to be used for bail. Ezra used her house as bail for herself and for other protesters. She was one of the few homeowners among the demonstrators.
- From Floyd McKissick Papers (#4930)

36. March 1964: Photograph of Holy Week fasters
In March, four members of the Freedom Movement staged a fast on the lawn of the Franklin Street post office to try to force local officials to reconsider the decision against the accommodations ordinance. Participants "only drank water and smoked cigarettes" (Ehle) for eight days.
- Photograph Copyright Al Amon, from John Ehle Papers (#4555)

37. 19 March 1964: Leaflet written by the participants of the Holy Week fast
These leaflets were distributed to passersby during the Holy Week fast held in front of the Franklin Street post office. This statement written by John Dunne, Patrick Cusick, LaVert Taylor, James Foushee, and others detailed the motivations behind their protest. On the reverse side is a list of all the known segregated businesses remaining in town at the time (29 in all).
- From Joseph W. Straley Papers (#5252)

38. 5 December 1963: Letter from Floyd McKissick to John Dunne
McKissick advised Dunne that, "the Chapel Hill cases, twenty-seven of them, will be tried on Tuesday afternoon, December 10, 1963."
- From Floyd McKissick Papers (#4930)

39. 25 April 1964: John B. Dunne Sr. to Floyd McKissick
Dunne asked several questions about the case against his son, student protest leader John Dunne, including, "What is the minimum number of months they will have to serve with good behavior before they will be eligible for parole and would their continued activity in the Freedom Movement make them subject to reincarceration under the judge's peculiar sentence?"
- From Floyd McKissick Papers (#4930)

40. 25 April 1964: Letter from John Dunne to his parents, Emmaline and John Dunne Sr.
"Well here we are!" reported John Dunne. Writing to his parents from the jail in Hillsborough, John Dunne described the outcome of his trial held before Judge Raymond Mallard in Orange County District Court. Also included in the letter are descriptions of the sentences imposed on fellow demonstrators and details about the conditions in the jail.
- From John B. Dunne Papers (#4391)

41. 26 July 1964: Letter from Lou Calhoun to Floyd McKissick
Writing to McKissick from the Orange County jail in Hillsborough, Calhoun discussed the prospects of life after parole. Calhoun was a senior at Carolina when he was sentenced to six months for his role in the demonstrations.
- From Floyd McKissick Papers (#4930)

42. 28 April 1964: Letter from Joe Straley to Paul Newman
43. 5 May 1964: Response to Joe Straley from Paul Newman
In spring 1964, the cases of many activists reached the Orange County courtroom of Judge Raymond Mallard. Seeing the protesters' actions as elements of a northern plot to radicalize the state, Mallard decided to strike a heavy blow against the Chapel Hill movement in order to separate the student leadership from the rest of the local movement. Feeling the effects of this drain of young leaders from the movement, Joe Straley wrote to actor Paul Newman, asking him to appear as a special guest at a rally of the Committee of Concerned Citizens in order to attract new members, especially students, to the cause. "Students for the most part have been apathetic; the few who have been active on behalf of civil rights have gone all out," Straley wrote.
- From Joseph W. Straley Papers (#5252)

Copy of the Civil Rights Act Catalog #44: Copy of Civil Rights Act.

44. 26 February 1964: Copy of H.R. 7152 (Civil Rights Act)
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 as it stood before being passed by the Senate in summer 1964.
- From Joseph W. Straley Papers (#5252)

45. July 1964: Photograph, Ku Klux Klan Rally, Hillsborough, N.C.
In summer 1964, around the time of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Ku Klux Klan staged a rally near Hillsborough.
- Photograph Copyright Jim Wallace, on loan from the photographer

46. 29 August 1964: Postcard to James Farmer, national director of CORE
Just days after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a segregationist wrote this derisive postcard to Farmer: "Dear Sir - Now that you have a world wide platform, tell the whites what we really want, the freedom to murder rape knife and pillage. Love, I. M. Black" This harsh sentiment reflects segregationists' attempts to maintain the status quo in the face of substantive changes brought about by legislation.
- From Allard K. Lowenstein Papers (#4340)

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