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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Training protesters in Chapel Hill

After learning about the various nonviolent protest techniques at North Carolina Central University, Baker was sent to Chapel Hill to train protestors there who were about to launch sit-ins and marches. He became good friends with Pat Cusick and John Dunne, two activists who were attempting to launch the Chapel Hill movement.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

How I got involved in Chapel Hill was that at one of the rallies, when we were doing this massive campaign, John Dunne and Pat Cusick came to the rally and obviously, they sort of latched on to trying to get to know people in there and they had created this group in Chapel Hill that was engaged in trying to desegregate things in Chapel Hill, they asked for assistance in helping them to better learn demonstrations, to do the non-violent protest stuff. 1 1 The rally that Quinton is referring to was held the day after the election of a new mayor in Durham, Mayor Grabarek. The exact date of this meeting was Tuesday, May 21, 1963 at St. Joseph's Church in Durham, North Carolina. In addition to that, John Dunn and I began a relationship and that actually John—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Tell me a little bit about both of them. Describe John Dunn and Pat Cusick at that time.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay John Dunn was a Morehead Scholar from Brecksville Ohio, who was quite gregarious, quite bright, and quite an opportunist. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
People told me he was quite attractive too.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
He was—I guess so [Laughter] He was not—he was dark haired, he was actually considered black Irish, okay. He was quite attractive, he was quite the charmer and he was what have you, and that was probably part of the whole thing. Pat on the other hand was a Southerner from Alabama, who was in the computer department at UNC. He was a student and he was working. He was a programmer.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I did not realize that there was a computer department in the 1960s.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, there was, he was a big person doing a lot of programming in computers. I tell him, I say, "Think of how wealthy you would have been had you
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—Had you stuck with computers—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
[Laughter] —stuck with computers." He was, but they, Pat particularly were involved in the Student Peace Union and so there were, there was a connection between their efforts in the peace movement and the civil rights movement, and so in Chapel Hill there was Herald Foster who was an African American who was involved in this group and in various university people, but I cam primarily, how I got involved in Chapel Hill was during the summer of 63—I think it was 63—I am forgetting some of this stuff now, after the major thrust that we had in Durham to desegregate, we developed a group called the NAACP Commandos. And that was a group of 15 of us, that went around the State to assist communities in non-violent demonstrations.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I was going to say, it doesn't sound very non-violent. "Commandos"! Later known as the Black Panthers. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Probably most of us might have been, and I guess that I was assigned to Chapel Hill.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
So that is how I got involved in Chapel Hill.