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Celebrating Black Brilliance and Contesting White Supremacy in the landscapes of Higher Education: Lessons Learned From the Struggle for Hurston Hall

September 4, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

By: Omololu Refilwe Babatunde

5 years ago the Real Silent Sam Coalition (RSSC)– a student lead group of students, faculty, staff, and community members that for twenty years engaged the Chapel Hill community in an exploration of the troubling race, class, and gender histories represented by several of the monuments on UNC’s campus — forced the name changing of  Saunders Hall, a building named for William Saunders a Grand Dragon of the North Carolina KKK. The building was publically renamed Hurston Hall in the spring of 2015  in honor of the Brillance of Zora Neale Hurston. RSSC used the built environment as a site of departure to have critical conversations around the continuation of anti-Blackness and systems of white supremacist domination at  UNC’s campus and the world at large. During their campaign, The coalition used a variety of strategies including public art installations, archival research, oration, campus-wide mobilization, and community forums to help UNC’s community recognize the white supremacist foundations of the Institution, while also emboldening themselves in the fact that students and (those working in white institutions of knowledge production) have the power to change their surroundings in more liberating ways.  During this talk, we will gather and reflect 5 years after the fact on what insights this moment of rupture reveals for our current day situation.

Note 1: This Geography event is co-sponsored by the Wilson Special Collections Library with the University Libraries.

Note 2: Please follow this link to register for this event. . The event zoom link will be emailed to you. Thanks.


September 4, 2020
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm