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The Daily Tar Heel

Art Pope's racist history with UNC



In January 1975, a campus organization called the Union Forum used student fees to bring the National Information Director of the KKK to campus. His name was David Duke.  

Black students at the time were outraged.  

A press release from the Black Student Movement read in part “The mere sanctioning of the spread of Duke’s decadent philosophy is an unforgivable display of latent racism. Many have construed the argument of objectivity out of proportion. It is such “objectivity” that allows racial oppression even to this date. We as Black people feel divinely justified (if not obligated) to repress the rejuvenation of the Klan philosophy at its very on-set.”

And so they resisted. 

Shortly after Union Forum Director Jim Conrad introduced Duke to the stage, black and white students began to protest.  

Despite attempts from University Officials, Student Body President Marcus Williams, and even Duke himself, the students refused to leave or to be silent until David Duke left the building and his podium and microphone were removed from stage. They disrupted his speech. 

In the aftermath of this protest, The Daily Tar Heel received over fifty letters offering opinions in favor of and in opposition to the actions students took that day.  

But one freshman from Raleigh was especially perturbed. So much so, that he decided to sue the then President of the Black Student Movement, Algenon Marbley, in undergraduate honor court for “disruption”, a charge that could’ve led to Marbley being expelled from school.

The freshman from Raleigh who brought the suit, who tried to get the BSM President kicked out of school for disrupting a speech on campus by the KKK, was Arthur “Art” Pope UNC ’78.  

Now, Art Pope is one of the most prolific funders of the Republican Party in the State of North Carolina. A Party that continues its assault on civil rights and against black, brown and trans people to this day. 

Does Arthur Pope still believe the KKK have a legitimate claim to first amendment protection when they speak and recruit students at campus sponsored events? 

Someone should ask him when he visits campus Tuesday as part of the Institute of Politics’ Fellows Program. Graham Memorial Hall Room 035. Starts at 5:15. 

Andrew Brennen

Political Science


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