Reclaiming the University of the People documents and interprets the history of how Black students and workers engaged in movements for racial justice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1951 to 2018 challenged the University’s dominant cultural landscape of white supremacy. This documentary website provides a counter-history of UNC-Chapel Hill directed by the legacy of Black freedom striving. 

The histories and supporting materials that comprise Reclaiming the University of the People are spatially organized, remapping the experience of the campus landscape for an audience of former and future Chapel Hill citizens. There are three main points of access to the histories of racial justices movements at UNC-Chapel Hill:

– a series of Essays organized around the history of a campus space(s), which
interpret the histories of racial justice movements with accompanying oral history
interview clips, historic photographs, and archival material;


– an Archive of approximately two hundred items, including letters, flyers, photographs,
oral history interviews, audiovisual material, and other ephemera that document
the histories of racial justice movements


– and a Map, which locates the histories of resistance to white supremacy in Chapel Hill
in specific spaces around and within the campus landscape.


Where should I start?

Start by reading the introduction to the project, and if you wish to continuing reading, keep moving through the essays, beginning with South Campus, before making your way north across the campus landscape, with plenty of stops in between, to McCorkle Place. If, after reading the introduction, you need help orienting yourself within the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, click around and through the Map. If you’d prefer to experience the primacy of the documents and voices of former organizers, start with the Archive. If you’d like to explore potential future policies for reparative racial justice at the University, read the essay titled Moving Forward

If you know the name of an organizer, an event, or a space you want to learn more about, click the magnifying glass in the top left corner of the page (or in the menu tab, if accessing via a mobile device) to search across the entire website. To learn why and how this project was made, read the Author Statement.

Reclaiming the University of the People is the dissertation project of Charlotte Fryar, PhD, from the Department of American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

This website was last updated in March 2019.