In the end of February, University Libraries promoted a website titled “The Black and Carolina Blue Tour” — a recently updated digital showcase of Black history at UNC.
Drawing from the University’s extended and detailed archives, the creators of the website built a robust virtual tour that they say will be a living document as history continues to unfold.
“It’s an opportunity to look at the UNC campus through the lens of Black history at Carolina,” said Nicholas Graham, University archivist and co-creator of the website. “It’s an introduction and a resource guide and an opportunity to learn and explore.”
The original tour was developed in 2001 by students of Tim McMillan, a former professor in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies. McMillan worked with his students to create a walking tour of UNC’s campus, highlighting key sites related to Black history at the University.
McMillan found that the tour resonated with students far beyond his classroom, said Sarah Carrier, the University’s North Carolina research and instructional librarian and co-creator of the tour.
Multiple websites have been created through the years to accompany the tour. However, faculty saw the need to update the site to make it more reliable and approachable to all, Carrier said.
“The goal is to make it as accessible as possible,” Graham said. “We’re not trying to rewrite a narrative, but we’re trying to tell an accurate one that has been underrepresented for a long time.”
Carrier said the goal was to build off of what already existed within the walking tour.
As the tour has grown in real life and online, students, faculty and other community members have offered suggestions and questions of emphasis.