Defending freedom of speech for the NCCU student newspaper
Pollitt very briefly discusses his involvement in the defense of student writers for <cite>The Echo</cite>, the student newspaper at North Carolina Central University during the 1970s. When funds were withdrawn from the newspaper after student writers wrote in opposition to the prevalence of white students on campus, Pollitt defended their freedom of speech and won in the Fourth Circuit Appellate Court. Pollitt offers this case as an example of a legal civil liberties victory.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 11, 1991. Interview L-0064-8. 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
- ANN MCCOLL:
I noticed in all of these the person didn't win. How do you
keep your spirits up?
- DANIEL POLLITT:
Occasionally I win. Now I have a few things. Oh, the "N.C.
Echo". What this was, they were starting to integrate North
Carolina Central and this was the black pride period. The editor of the
newspaper, "The Echo", had an editorial saying that
there are too many whites coming to our campus. They are taking over and
we are too hospitable to them, so let's not be hospitable to
them and don't get out of their way on the sidewalks or
anything." Then they also had a person on the street interview,
"What do you think of all these whites coming in?"
Everybody who answered said, "It's terrible. What
are you going to do about it?" So it was an anti-white issue of
the newspaper. The Chancellor said, "We're not going
to fund you anymore until you apologize," and this sort of
thing. They said, "We won't do it. We have editorial
freedom to be anti-white." So they cut off their funds. I got
involved and brought the suit to make them restore the money on the
theory that student editors have a right to be rambunctious and racist
and whatever they want to be. I won that in the Fourth Circuit. So I do
win on occasion. That was an interesting one. I have some others, but
let me mention two things which are typical of what I've been
doing here for thirty years and that is faculty and student affairs. You
don't go to the courts.