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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Pat Cusick, June 19, 1989. Interview L-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Tenuous relationships between Chapel Hill, UNC, the students, and their parents

Cusick idealistically believed that segregated public accommodations would end in Chapel Hill due to its liberal reputation. However, he argued that the University of North Carolina counteracted their protests by pressuring parents to stop student activism. Cusick regrets not placing more of a burden upon the University to influence racial change in the town.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Pat Cusick, June 19, 1989. Interview L-0043. 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

...Our big mistake, I said it in the book and I still believe, our biggest tactical mistake was not putting more of the burden on the University. I mean that's where we should put our leverage rather than the town. We and SNCC in Atlanta were the only two places in the South that were going after a public accommodations law. But in both places it seemed very doable because we were only one vote away in Chapel Hill. We actually thought we would get that ordinance, and it would have been the first one in the South prior to the national law. So that part, I think we were correct in our tactics and our strategy. We were stupid in that we did not involve the University more, as obviously the University has leverage on the town.
They're not quite synonymous but there's an awful lot of overlap.
No, and a lot of parents of kids had pressure put on them, different places where they worked in the University. I couldn't say it was University policy because it was supervisors [unclear] . That type of thing.
But there was nothing coming from the administration in support of what you were doing?
No, and if you look at the size—some people tended to disbelieve me later on. I don't know the number of faculty there were then but it was considerable. But if you look at the number of faculty, that Joe Straley was the only one is pretty shameful when you stop to think about it, pretty shameful. But there may have been, I don't know about indirect pressures. I mean, we certainly knew they were appalled and not in favor.