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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 >>

Fears of student protest resulted in student meetings with North Carolina senators

The Vietnam War increased student anti-war protests. North Carolina politicians and UNC officials sought to prevent student violence in light of the incident at Kent State. Pollitt describes how they established political forums between North Carolina senators and student activists.

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:
So, then the Vietnam War came along. There was an anti-Vietnam War protest. There was a big protest here, but not like at Columbia or Berkeley. The graduate students went on strike for a day or two. Then we had a meeting of the faculty council to show our opposition to Nixon. The resolution that finally came out, as I recall, was something to the effect that they would encourage or endorse or something a trip to Washington to see our legislators. By the way, that was called "Washington Witness One." And then we had Washington Witness Two in a similar situation. And so through the Y, we rented buses. Gustavison and me signed our names to the list. We agreed to pay eight hundred dollars or eight thousand dollars, I don't know, for the buses. The buses were to be at the Planetarium at four in the morning or five in the morning or something, and we'd go up to Washington. And I think the first time we went, we were to meet our Congressman. Nick Delafinicus was our Congressman from Durham. He and Bill Friday made the arrangements with all the congressional delegation to meet with groups. And then the two senators would meet with all of us. We had a great big forum there on Capitol Hill. So, we had eight or nine buses and a couple of thousand students. We all went up. The Y did it all. And then, "Where are we going to eat?" The arrangements were made by the Y that we would have box lunches at the Methodist Building which was right across the street from the Capitol. Then we had to wait for the bus drivers to have so many hours between, and then we came back. We stopped somewhere in Virginia and they were expecting us and we had a late supper. So, it was a twenty hour day or something, but that was done through the Y. Then we had our second one. We had Washington Witness Two. It was another event. It might have been the killings at Kent State or something which prompted another trip. Again, the faculty council endorsed it and there were a thousand people around Pope Place wanting to see the Chancellor. And this was to diffuse, not really to diffuse, but to be constructive. What do you do when you're angry and upset? Do you have a teach-in or something? Or do you cancel classes? So, that's for the demands. But we didn't want to burn down the NROTC. They were having their anniversary or something around then and they were going to have a big parade and so on. And they really feared that there might be trouble at that point. They thought, "Get everybody out of town." We had Washington Witness Two. And this time we saw new Congressmen. We'd seen our other Congressman, but they were on our list. We saw a new Congressman. Father Drinon was there from Massachusetts and what's her name from Long Island? The one who wore the hats. I don't know. And then there was the new one from Colorado, the woman. And Ron Dellams. There were a whole bunch of new Congressmen. We thought, "This time we'll see new Congresspeople as well as our old." And then you sign up for who you want to see and you see one. Al Lowenstein was one of them. You see one of them for forty-five minutes and then you move on and you see another one. It was a great day. I was with Anne.