The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Donyell Roseboro on the need for a social space within the Stone Center

Excerpt Description: Donyell Roseboro, who wrote her dissertation on the BCC movement, describes her evolving understanding of the Stone Center as a primarily academic building, though registers her surprise at the lack of social spaces within the building.

Interviewee Name: Donyell Roseboro

Interviewer: Jonathan Tarleton

Excerpt Transcript: “I have a different perspective now obviously because I teach at a university and so I think I have a better understanding of why faculty and administrators felt like it had to have an academic focus. When we were students, we thought the academic and the social just went hand in hand and were integrated so seamlessly and in the BCC as it was, that we didn’t necessarily understand why they had to privilege the academic focus when they built the free-standing center. Now, of course, I get it. There’s lots of implications for funding, and for perception, and for resources the center can actually access now because it does have an academic focus. But at the time for us, what we were learning on campus was so tied to what was happening socially, and not necessarily tied to what was happening in our classes. People skipped classes all day every day to be involved in the movement, and felt like they had a fabulous experience, after they recovered academically from that skipping. So it was just interesting, and so when I went to see the center when I was working on my dissertation, before it wasn’t finished—well actually I went back after that and it was finished—I was floored that there weren’t real social spaces. And I just don’t even know what that means. I know students can always make a space, but it felt very sterile in many ways. I don’t think I used that word, but in retrospect, that’s what it felt sometimes. It certainly didn’t have the home away from home feeling that the other center had created for us. And there wasn’t the possibility of you popping your head in and seeing who was in there and deciding whether you wanted to hang out. You actually had to go the building with a purpose in mind. So I’m not sure if that quite answers your question. Was it a success? Yes, absolutely. It’s fabulous. It’s a center that’s amazing, it’s unparalleled. I don’t know what other center around the nation can say they have the same kind of facilities and the same kind of resources that the Stone Center has, but I could walk in that building today and bet that 95% of the students in the building have no idea about the history of the center.”

Organization: BCC MovementBlack Student Movement

Excerpt Length: 2:19

Interview Date: 3/13/2011

Interview Location: Durham, North Carolina

Campus Space: The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Citation: Interview with Donyell Roseboro by Jonathan Tarleton, 13 March 2011, L-0333 in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.