The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Ruby Sinreich on the successes and failures of the BCC movement

Excerpt Description: Ruby Sinreich describes her belief that the BCC movement was a success, but explains the ways in which that success was mitigated, questioning her original statement that the movement was a success.

Interviewee Name: Ruby Sinreich

Interviewer: Jonathan Tarleton

Excerpt Transcript: Jonathan Tarleton: So would you characterize the movement ultimately as a success or not?
Ruby Sinreich: Yes, I would because I don’t think the building would be there if we hadn’t done it. Although one could argue that it would. It might have taken longer to get built or been some place else even further from the center of campus. I mean, one of the issues actually that was kind of one of the areas of my sort of specialty was the site. Where it is now is not where we wanted it to be. And we failed on that account, and I still think it would have been better if it was up there next to Dey Hall, in between Dey Hall and Wilson Library, where they claimed they couldn’t put anything there—of course they went and put something there, like, duh—instead of putting it in the middle of these woods that would have been nice to preserve. That was one of interesting things that I was able to bring to it actually because I had environmental cred. We had a little sub-movement about saving what was it called–Coker Woods—I guess? That doesn’t sound right. Coker Forest doesn’t sound right. It was called Coker something. Coker Trees? And we have someone environmental study it and did an estimation of how many species lived in there and all these kinds of things, which was cool because we were able to engage environmentalists on that because everybody agreed the site on the main quad would have been better. Obviously the real reason is that it would be psychologically better to have it in the heart of the campus, the place where you walk every day and see what’s going on there, as opposed to where it is now where you can kind of ignore it, you know? Although it’s beautiful and the BCC itself is enhanced by the trees around it. I don’t know that the trees are enhanced by the BCC being there, you know? But it’s a beautiful setting, and the way that the campus is shifting a lot in that area, I think it will be more central when all the construction and stuff is done. But still it should have been across the street, but I still think it’s a great facility. It looks awesome. They’re doing cool stuff there all the time. So I’m certainly glad it’s there. I mean, someone like Don Boulton, who was administrator when we were there, would tell you that they were going to build it anyway, maybe. But they might not have gotten around to it. It was something that the Board of Trustees had voted on long before I was even a student, I think in the early, mid-80s, but it was just going to sit there, you know, really. There was no one working to find a place, to raise money for it or anything. So for all its flaws, I do think it was a success, the movement.

Organization: Campus Y, Student Environmental Action Coalition, BCC Movement

Excerpt Length: 3:10

Interview Date: 3/24/2011

Interview Location: Carrboro, North Carolina

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

Citation: Interview with Ruby Sinreich by Jonathan Tarleton, 24 March 2011, L-
0334 in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.