Saunders Hall

Blanche Brown on the history of student engagement in campus activism

Excerpt Description: Blanche Brown chronicles how student engagement with justice movements has changed over time.

Interviewee Name: Blanche Brown

Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar

Excerpt Transcript: “Yeah, so I think a lot of CHAT, and like Students Seeking Historical Accuracy–. I think just a lot about Yonni Chapman, whose work has been huge, huge. It’s interesting because I think of the Lenoir Workers Strike at UNC and that level of–. I mean, obviously the [19]60s and [19]70s was just a very particular time and a particular time when the vast majority of students were just more politicized than they are now. And I’m sure books have been written about that. I think that being a really huge thing. And even looking at the way that Student Action with Workers does organizing now on campus, it is still very different from that big strike, and the risks that people take are much smaller than the risk people took with the Speaker Ban and with the Lenoir Workers Strike. Even with building the Stone Center, students organized around that and raised money themselves to have the Sonja Haynes Stone Center, and–. I can’t provide a clear answer, but just that I think our generation is, comes from a place of more political apathy and choosing to remove themselves from even engaging. I think that’s a survival tactic, because I think it is a system that numbs one to the process of empowerment and disempowerment, if that makes sense.”

Organization: Real Silent Sam Coalition, Campaign for Historical Accuracy and Truth, Students Seeking Historical Truth, BCC Movement

Excerpt Length: 1:49

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.