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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, November 19, 1990. Interview L-0048. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

UNC officials' neutrality on race accommodated local residents and protected faculty activists

Pollitt again explains the importance of the Campus Y and the Chapel Hill Community Church to movement activists. He characterizes the UNC administration as neutral during the civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s to appease Chapel Hill residents not ready for rapid racial change. Their neutral position allowed officials to ignore activist professors.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, November 19, 1990. Interview L-0048. 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

DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Well, I forget the name of the organization, but there had to be one to collect funds for bail purposes. And the treasurer of that was the treasurer of the YMCA and the office was the YMCA. That's where people met.
CINDY CHEATHAM:
So, that's where the students organized that were involved in this sit-in movement that were students at UNC?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. I mean, you'd go to the Y and see what's going on. And the other place was the Community Church. The Community Church was more for the grown-ups. I don't mean that the students are not grown-up.
CINDY CHEATHAM:
I understand. [Laughter]
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
But the older people used the Community Church. There were the white collar University students and there were the black high school students and then there was the white community, mostly professors, that operated out of the Community Church. At one time, the Duke divinity professors got involved and they all got arrested. But Anne was not in the forefront at this time. Everything that we mimeographed was mimeographed at the Community Church and not at the Y. The Chancellor was Bill Aycock, I guess, and we kept putting pressure on Bill to put the theater off limits or something, or to take an action of some sort. And he didn't. And Bill Friday. They were neutral throughout all this. They did not speak at all on the public accommodation. Maybe they were wise. The state of North Carolina was not ready. They were preserving the University. I was active. I was the very first picketer at the theater and my role was well known and out front and I wrote an article on it and I'd be quoted. I never once doubted that anyone would come after me, you know. And I was not going to not get a pay raise, I was not not going to get promoted or anything else.
CINDY CHEATHAM:
So, you didn't believe your position was at all threatened?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
I felt I was in no jeopardy whatsoever for doing all of this. And no one was in jeopardy. Not a single professor was jeopardized in any department that I knew of because of their active involvement with people who were arrested. Peter Feiline was pretty active in this. He was a brand new professor; a young, untenured, assistant professor. And pretty active.
CINDY CHEATHAM:
I'm sure he was.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
But on the other hand, or maybe that's enough, you know, to protect the faculty from any repercussions.