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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Bill Hull, June 21, 2001. Interview K-0844. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Changes to Chapel Hill and their impact on gay culture

Hull discusses the cultural and political changes occurring in Chapel Hill since the 1960s.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Bill Hull, June 21, 2001. Interview K-0844. 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

CHRIS MCGINNIS:
So, Chapel Hill kind of atrophied, I guess, in the 80s and less and less gay people lived there. There is still maybe a core crowd, but they live in outlying areas, and it is not what it used to be. You said, that you were shocked that there wasn't even a gay bar anymore, which for most for the most of the time there isn't—
BILL HULL:
For one thing, most people cannot afford to live in Chapel Hill. You know, that sort of thing. Before, there used to be a large gay community there. When I came along, there were even dormitories and apartments. But, it is very expensive to live in Chapel Hill. I don't know, it is just that the whole feeling of Chapel Hill has changed, I don't want to be negative, but it is not the liberal village with a queer and a communist behind every tree, it has become a Republican—
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
It has become a Republican and a NRA guy behind every tree. [Laughter]
BILL HULL:
Yeah, right, it is just so strange. If anybody had ever told me thirty years ago that Chapel Hill would have a Starbucks and a GAP and a Bath and Body Shop and whatever, I would have blown my brains out. I mean, Chapel Hill—That is why I live in Delray. Delray Beach is what Chapel Hill used to be without a university. All of the businesses are private, everybody is known, people know everybody. You can walk down the street without being inundated with 60,000 people living here. Chapel Hill used to be, you knew everybody. It is just like the rest of the world, it has gotten big and bustling and so much is going on that people don't have time to interact. I don't know, I think that things that used to be important, I don't think are so important anymore, to a lot of people. Clothes and hair. When I went to school and you were in a sorority or fraternity you might as well have been shot dead.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
Really?
BILL HULL:
Yeah, that was so.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
It was kind of a joke.
BILL HULL:
Yeah, it was so funny.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
So, basically it was a Bohemian culture when you came in the 60s.
BILL HULL:
It was, when I came here in the 60s there were hippies, beatniks still hanging out in Chapel Hill. I went home after my first semester and my mother said, "I can't believe you have gone and become a beatnik." Tennis shoes with the soles hanging off and the toes hanging out and the long hair and the beard and the whole thing, and the bongo drum sort of aspect and sneaking off to the library, which is probably where, near around Granville Towers there is a library there and people and they would, smoke marijuana [said in a whisper] [Laughter] it was very beatnik and then I left and went into the service and came back and it was a hippie culture.