Excerpt Description: Blanche Brown details her discovery of an archival record that stated William Saunders’s leadership of the Ku Klux Klan as a reason for naming a building on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in his honor.
Interviewee Name: Blanche Brown
Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar
Excerpt Transcript: “In the university archives, there is a specific section just for Board of Trustees, and so I looked at the year that Saunders was–Saunders Hall–was dedicated. And it sort of goes through the whole building process, and then it has the meeting where they decided what to—that they would confirm that they would name it after Saunders, and they had this sort of resume of his that they used to justify the naming. And it just showed–at the–. The second thing listed was that he was head of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan. So that was a really big thing. And I was also just still naïve at this point. I still just believed–. My heart just leapt with joy, because I was like, “When people see this document, there is no way that they will think that we can leave this building the way it is.” And yet, still, here we are.”
Organization: Real Silent Sam Coalition
Excerpt Length: 1:03
Interview Date: 4/15/2015
Interview Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Campus Space: Saunders Hall
Citation: Interview with Blanche Brown by Charlotte Fryar, 15 April 2015, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.