The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

John Bradley on making UNC a leader in social justice

Excerpt Description: John Bradley describes how students in the BCC movement used the elite status of UNC-Chapel Hill as a way to argue for it taking up a leadership position in social justice movements.

Interviewee Name: John Bradley

Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar

Excerpt Transcript: “When you’re going against, you know, the administration, which at that time, it’s like, you know, they’re massive. You’re not supposed—it’s almost like your parents. You’re not supposed to defy your parents. You’re not supposed to defy Chancellor Hardin or this massive organization, because we love Carolina. We love the school, so, you know, it was never—you know, you walked that fine line of ‘I don’t want to make it seem like this school is the bane of our existence and we want it abolished and just kind of torn down,’ but, no, it’s that ‘We are a great university and we have a desire to be leaders of all social change, that we want to be in the forefront to say, well, whether it’s for women’s rights, whether it’s for, you know, minorities, whether it’s through education or what have you, that we were the first ones to kind of step out on faith and say, We’re going to be the leader in doing things the right way. Everyone else will eventually see it. Right now they’re scared, because this has been the norm for so long, but if we can show you that being inclusive and being encouraging is okay, and you can be successful, you can be profitable, you can be a leader, then everyone else will follow.’ We felt like that’s what the university, you know, should be, and we could help it get there.”

Organization: Black Awareness Council, Black Student Movement, BCC Movement

Excerpt Length: 1:14

Interview Date: 12/2/2017

Interview Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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

Citation:  Interview with John Bradley by Charlotte Fryar, 2 December 2017, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.