Campus to counter: civil rights activism in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, 1960-1963

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Brian William Suttell (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Charles Bolton

Abstract: This work investigates civil rights activism in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, in the early 1960s, especially among students at Shaw University, Saint Augustine’s College (Saint Augustine’s University today), and North Carolina College at Durham (North Carolina Central University today). Their significance in challenging traditional practices in regard to race relations has been underrepresented in the historiography of the civil rights movement. Students from these three historically black schools played a crucial role in bringing about the end of segregation in public accommodations and the reduction of discriminatory hiring practices. While student activists often proceeded from campus to the lunch counters to participate in sit-in demonstrations, their actions also represented a counter to businesspersons and politicians who sought to preserve a segregationist view of Tar Heel hospitality. The research presented in this dissertation demonstrates the ways in which ideas of academic freedom gave additional ideological force to the civil rights movement and helped garner support from students and faculty from the “Research Triangle” schools comprised of North Carolina State College (North Carolina State University today), Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Many students from both the “Protest Triangle” (my term for the activists at the three historically black schools) and “Research Triangle” schools viewed efforts by local and state politicians to thwart student participation in sit-ins and other forms of protest as a restriction of their academic freedom. Despite the rich historiography on the American civil rights movement as well as several scholarly works addressing academic freedom, there has been a lack of emphasis on the ways in which civil rights activism and academic freedom were interconnected in the early 1960s. This project is the result of extensive archival research and the analysis of primary and secondary sources. The author has conducted twenty-nine interviews of civil rights activists and members of the Raleigh and Durham communities, in addition to interviews of nationally recognized civil rights leaders such as Andrew Young and Wyatt Tee Walker. Interviewees from Raleigh and Durham were asked to complete surveys, which were utilized to provide a more systematic method for the author to form assertions and analyze patterns of experiences among the activists.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Academic Freedom, Civil Rights, Civil Rights Movement in Durham, Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina, Civil Rights Movement in Raleigh, Raleigh and Durham
African American college students $x Political activity $z North Carolina $x History $y 20th century
African American student movements $z North Carolina $x History $y 20th century
Civil rights demonstrations $z North Carolina $x History $y 20th century
Civil rights movements $z North Carolina $x History $y 20th century
Civil rights workers $z North Carolina $x History $y 20th century
Academic freedom $z North Carolina $x History $y 20th century

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