Steele Building was the first UNC building where Black students were allowed to live. But they were only allowed to do so on the third floor — away from the white students.
Stories and events like this about Black history at UNC are abundant, but not all students are aware of them.
The Kappa Omicron chapter of Delta Sigma Theta hosted a two-day event last week called "KnOw Your Roots". This event highlighted the Black history at UNC through a self-guided tour with 17 stops — including Steele Building — and a panel of alumni speakers.
The chapter is the first Black sorority at UNC and arrived on campus in 1973. The sorority gives a space for Black women to come together and collaborate.
“I think it's great that we're able to carve out space on this campus to do a lot of the work that we're doing because, for generations, we've had to fight to say a lot of things that we're saying and do a lot of things that we're doing,” Tylah Harrison, the chapter's president, said.
A large focus of the chapter is activism. Harrison said the chapter hopes to promote this through its five pillars: education, economic development, political awareness and involvement, international awareness and physical and mental health.
“We wanted to really focus this year a lot on highlighting our history as a chapter and Black history on campus, just because, as we all know, Black history is really intertwined with UNC history,” Harrison said.
The goals of this event were diversity and equity, belonging and awareness. These were addressed by talking about topics regarding Black students on a predominantly white campus, exposing the unseen achievements of Black students and promoting new perspectives.
The Deltas of the Kappa Omicron chapter wanted to create a more intimate experience on the tour, so they made their components more physical as opposed to just presenting them digitally.