Saunders Hall

Erica Smiley on the importance of organizing North Carolina

Excerpt Description: Erica Smiley describes her relationship to the state of North Carolina and the responsibility of organizing at the state level when organizing on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Interviewee Name: 
Erica Smiley

Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar

Excerpt Transcript: “And I just remember thinking to myself—like, I actually—you know, like, I kind of got kind of sad, because I was like, you know, this is my home, and what I do really not only impacts me, but kind of implicates people here, like my family, my friends, the people I grew up around. Like, whether I rep North Carolina or not—and, trust me, I do everywhere, even though I haven’t lived there in twenty years, but, like, whether I rep North Carolina or not, my actions will be reflective or, you know, reflected upon the people there, and so I take that very seriously. I feel really responsible for that, and I feel responsible that I haven’t gone home. I still live outside North Carolina, now even further away in New Jersey, but I still feel very responsible for people back home.”

Organization: Black Student Movement

Excerpt Length: 1:02

Interview Date: 12/8/2017

Interview Location: Washington, D.C.

Campus Space: Saunders Hall

Citation:  Interview with Erica Smiley by Charlotte Fryar, 8 December 2017, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.