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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Speaker Ban Monument, UNC (Chapel Hill)

  • Type

    Plaque

  • Subjects

    Educational Institutions

  • City

    Chapel Hill

  • County

    Orange

  • Description

    The monument is a rectangular granite marker approximately 30 inches high and 30 inches wide. The surface contains an inscription above a brass plaque. It resides near the spot where in March 1966 two controversial speakers, Frank Wilkinson and Herbert Aptheker, addressed students. The monument commemorates the 1966 student protests that overturned the N.C. Speaker Ban Law.

  • Inscription

    Carved:
    THE SPEAKER BAN / ALONG THIS WALL IN MARCH 1966, UNC STUDENTS / CHALLENGED A STATE LAW THAT REGULATED / WHO COULD SPEAK ON UNC CAMPUSES. / THE STUDENTS LISTED BELOW INVITED BANNED / SPEAKERS HERBERT APTHEKER, A RADICAL HISTORIAN / AND FRANK WILKINSON / A CIVIL LIBERTIES ACTIVIST / WHEN STUDENTS WERE PREVENTED FROM HOLDING / THESE EVENTS ON CAMPUS, THEY INITIATED A / LAWSUIT THAT OVERTURNED THE "SPEAKER BAN" / IN 1968.

    On plaque:
    Paul Dickson III, Student Body President / George E. Nicholson III, Carolina Forum / Robert S. Powell Jr., Carolina Forum / James A. Medford, YMCA / Eunice H. Milton, YMCA / John E. Greenbacker Jr., Di-Phi / Eric E. Van Loon, Carolina Political Union / Ernest S. McCrary, The Daily Tar Heel / Gary E. Waller, Students for a Democratic Society / Stuart E. Matthews, Students for a Democratic Society / John D. McSween / Henry N. Patterson Jr.

    Below:
    "I HOPE HISTORY WILL RECORD THAT THE STUDENT / BODY DID NOT SHY AWAY FROM THIS CHALLENGE, BUT / FIRMLY AND RESPONSIBLY MET IT HEAD ON." / PAUL DICKSON III -- FEBRUARY 1966

    Image - Lower Inscription

  • Custodian

    UNC Chapel Hill

  • Dedication Date

    October 12, 2011

  • Decade

    2010s

  • Supporting Sources

      "Speaker Ban Marker Dedicated at Stone Wall," UNC GAA News, (accessed February 28, 2012) Link

      "Speaker Ban Marker Unveiling Ceremony (Video)," dailytarheel.com, October 12, 2011, (accessed June 21, 2012) Link

      "The Speaker Ban Law at Carolina," The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History, (accessed June 21, 2012) Link

      "The Speaker Ban: Students Should See New Plaque as a Reminder," The Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, NC), October 13, 2011, (accessed June 21, 2012) Link

      "UNC, Proudly Public, Celebrates Birthday," UNC University Gazette, (accessed February 28, 2012) Link

      "University Day", UNC.edu, (accessed February 28, 2012) Link

      Volz, Colleen. "Speaker Ban Law Plaque Commemorates Students' Fight For Free Speech," The Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, NC), October 12, 2011, (accessed June 21, 2012) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite, Bronze

  • Sponsors

    Anne Dickson Fogleman, Robert Dickson

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    A public unveiling ceremony was held at the marker's site at 3 p.m. on Oct. 12, University Day, followed by a reception in the Johnston Center. Remarks were made by Chancellor Holden Thorp, University of North Carolina President Tom Ross, Chair of the Board of Trustees Wade Hargrove, Student Body President Mary Cooper, and by Robert Dickson, Class of 1974. The audience included University leaders, faculty, students, and alumni, including ten former protesters. A video of the ceremony can be viewed here.

  • Subject Notes

    In 1963, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law prohibiting any individual who supported Communism or had invoked his or her Fifth Amendment right when questioned about Communist activities from speaking at public university campuses.

    In March of 1966, leaders of the student body invited Frank Wilkinson and Herbert Aptheker to speak. As the men could not speak on University property, they stood just beyond the short stone wall of the campus boundary to address a student audience of over 1,000. Twelve students, named on the bronze plaque of this monument, filed a lawsuit that led to the law being overturned in 1968.

  • Location

    The monument is just south of East Franklin St.; it faces north.

  • Landscape

    The monument sits on the stone wall between McCorkle Place and Franklin Street.

Know anything else about this monument that isn't mentioned here? If you have additional information on this or any other monument in our collection fill out the form at the Contact Us link in the footer. Thank you.