Upendo Lounge

Henry Foust on the role of Upendo Lounge in creating social space

Excerpt Description: Henry Foust explains the role of Upendo Lounge for Black students through the 1970s, explaining the uniqueness of the space in creating community for Black students on South Campus.

Interviewee Name: Henry Foust

Interviewer: Monique LaBorde

Excerpt Transcript: “So you go to Upendo on Saturday night to party and you do come back on Sunday morning to go to church. It was the same space, the very same space. Just cleaned it out, put the chairs up differently and you had a party on Saturday, church on Sunday. [Laughter] So Upendo was pretty much where we hung out all the time. Everything happened in Upendo. There is an Upendo now but that’s not it. There was a building on south campus called Chase Hall, there’s a cafeteria. The bottom floor in Chase Hall had a small room on the corner and that was Upendo Lounge. And so y’all can’t even imagine the landscape. You have to imagine it without Hinton James North, and what is it, Horton, those four dorms right there on the street. They were not there. It was just lawns, really long grassy lawns. And at the bottom of the hill at Morrison, that’s where Chase Hall was and that’s where Upendo was. It was in the middle of all the south campus dorms, which is where most black kids stayed anyway. So it really was a hub. It was very much a hub and everything happened there. Dances, parties, meetings, concerts sometimes, practices. Anything that went on in the black community, pretty much the first place you tried to get was Upendo. If you couldn’t get that then you got someplace else. But that’s where all the parties and stuff took place. And every once in a while somebody might do something in their dorm room, have some music and stuff like that, and hang out, or it’d be one of the lounges on the high-rise dorms. But it was almost all Upendo.”

Organization: Black Student Movement

Excerpt Length: 1:30

Interview Date: 11/24/2015

Interview Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Campus Space: Upendo Lounge

Citation: Interview with Henry Foust by Monique LaBorde, 24 November 2015, N-0036 in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.