The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday January 28th

UNC history task force reveals plans for exhibit inside Carolina Hall

Three panels will comprise the exhibit, which the task force plans to introduce sometime in November.

“The first section of the exhibit is about William Saunders and his era in North Carolina, which is broadly talking about post-Civil War Reconstruction and how he came to be associated with being a part of the (Ku Klux Klan) and those issues,” said Cecelia Moore, University historian and project manager for the task force.

“Then the second section, or panel, is the early 1920s when the building was named after him, and what was happening here at UNC and the issues at the state at that time.”

The third panel will discuss students’ involvement in the decision to change the name of Saunders Hall.

UNC spokesperson Jim Gregory said students should appreciate the time and energy going into the process.

“To someone who’s not, every day, ingrained in it, I think people want it to be a quick solution,” he said. “It’s really important to get it right — it’s really important to bring in many perspectives.”

Gregory said the panels are designed to invite further research.

“How do you interest people, or peak their interest enough so that with three panels, they say, ‘I never knew that, I want to go learn more now’? That’s what this is about, is bringing all that information so that it’s easier for people to learn the whole story,” he said.

Ronald Harris, a sophomore psychology major, said he agrees with the decision to change the name and appreciates the addition of the sign, but he said he feels it may not be enough.

“The naming is kind of a smaller portion of problems that need to be addressed,” he said. “I think it is good that we can kind of build upon it, build momentum for it.”

Chancellor Carol Folt created the task force to research and present the history of the University, and the task force will continue other projects once the Carolina Hall panels are completed.

The task force gathered two advisory committees, in the spring, for each of its first two projects — Carolina Hall and McCorkle Place. Moore said the committees aimed to be inclusive of all volunteer members.

Moore said the task force strives to examine how history is presented at the University and how that history might become more accessible for students, faculty, staff and the rest of Chapel Hill’s community.

While the task force is not a permanent establishment, she hopes its efforts to curate the University’s history will have a lasting impact and encourage visitors to conduct their own research.

“The task force will eventually go away but will have helped to make something happen,” she said.

Moore said the task force will meet again this fall to present the plans for the three-part sign to the Advisory Committee for Carolina Hall.


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