Saunders Hall

Students Seeking Historical Truth Presentation to the Black Student Movement

Document Description: The first student organization that formed around issues relating to the University’s history with racial injustice was Student Seeking History Truth (SSHT). SSHT formed in the fall semester of 1999 with two stated goals: “First, to obtain official acknowledgement from the University of this history and that the University takes steps to teach and enlighten the campus community about this history. The second goal is to erect a public monument to the contributions that blacks have made to this university.” Students Seeking Historical Truth identified a number of buildings on the campus named in honor slave-owners and white supremacists. In close proximity on the campus to Saunders Hall, the organization singled out Steele Building, named to honor Walter Leak Steele, “a vocal opponent of the Reconstruction Acts,” and Murphey Hall, named to honor Archibald DeBow Murphey, an early graduate of the University “who owned several slaves.” At a presentation to a meeting of the Black Student Movement, SSHT identified still other buildings named in honor of slave-owners and white supremacists including Ruffin Residence Hall, Davie Hall, Swain Hall, Mitchell Hall, Aycock Residence Hall, and finally, Memorial Hall, which they argued “pulls it all together,” by honoring dozens of the state’s antebellum elite and Confederate officers.



Organization: Students Seeking Historical Truth, Black Student Movement

Date: 10/7/1999

Document Type:  Video

Creator: John K. Chapman

Document Collection: John Kenyon Chapman Papers, 1969-2009

Campus Space: Saunders Hall

Citation: Saunders Hall Anti-Klan decoration, presentation, and speak-out, October 1999 in the John Kenyon Chapman Papers #5441, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.