Lenoir Hall and Manning Hall

Preston Dobbins on the creation of the Black Student Movement

Excerpt Description: Preston Dobbins details the shuttering of the UNC-NAACP group and the creation of the more dynamic and politically engaged Black Student Movement.

Interviewee Name:
Preston Dobbins

Interviewer: Jacquelyn Dowd Hall and Bill Finger

Excerpt Transcript: “But after going to these meetings, I felt this fire start to stir in me again. [laughter] And I said to myself, “Oh, no.” [laughter] I really didn’t want to feel it and I went around and started, I don’t even remember really making a conscious decision, just went around talking to black student about how this was really an inept group that we had here. As a matter of fact, not that many people were going to meetings or anything like that. There would usually be maybe ten or eleven, as I recall, people at those NAACP meetings. I remember one week just spending time going around and talking to different people that I knew saying that everybody ought to get together and go to the next NAACP meeting and that at that meeting, what we would do would be, since every black student was automatically a member, that we would vote the abolition of the group and then start another one. So, that’s what I did, just rounded up people, came to the meeting, and I introduced a motion that this group be abolished.
JDH: Was that a very dramatic meeting?
Dobbins: Yeah, it was dramatic after that motion. And there were all kinds of arguments that this couldn’t be done. I said, “Yeah, it can be if enough people vote on it, it’s just a motion and either it will carry or it won’t.”
BF: He finally recognized the motion?
Dobbins: Oh, yeah, he had to do that. He would have been really put on the spot if he had refused, it would have made him look silly. So, there wasn’t really much of a choice.
JDH: And so, they voted to abolish the NAACP chapter?
Dobbins: Yes.
JDH: And to start what?
Dobbins: The Black Student Movement.”

Organization: Black Student Movement

Event Mentioned Date: 11/7/1967

Excerpt Length: 2:28

Interview Date: 12/4/1974

Interview Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Campus Space: Lenoir Hall and Manning Hall

Citation: Interview with Preston Dobbins by Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, 4 December 1974, E-0063 in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.