Saunders Hall

Donelle Boose on the legacy of Yonni Chapman

Excerpt Description: Donelle Boose illustrates the personality and purpose-driven work of her friend, Yonni Chapman, and how his vision for justice was rooted in historical truth.

Interviewee Name: Donelle Boose

Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar

Excerpt Transcript: “Yonni was, like, soft-spoken, but very passionate about justice, very passionate about identifying and calling out the things that were wrong, and at Carolina, that was the context that we were in, you know, which is part of the reason why I say that he was, like, kind of the impetus, brainchild behind CHAT, because he had this firm belief that people’s misunderstanding about who they were was rooted in the stories they told themselves about their history. And so here was Carolina, this beautiful, you know, green, brick-laden place where people celebrated for all kinds of reasons, the place is celebrated, worshiped even, you know. And right underneath the surface is all this ugliness that supports it, right? So he’s saying, you know, he would—he was passionate about, like, peeling back the veneer, and so he would speak very softly about it but very like determined like, you know, “These things are wrong,” you know. “These are things that we need to bring to folks’ attention.” I think he had the impression that if it were brought to—it was like a call to conscience to people. You know, that’s why accuracy, you get to accuracy and maybe it can lead you in the way of some truth, you know.”

Organization: Campaign for Historical Accuracy and Truth

Excerpt Length: 1:48

Interview Date: 11/17/2017

Interview Location: Washington, D.C.

Campus Space: Saunders Hall

Citation:  Interview with Donelle Boose by Charlotte Fryar, 17 November 2017, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.