“We carry the names but not the privilege of the people who built this great University."
That's what Danita Mason-Hogans, a seventh-generation Chapel Hill resident, said at an event organized by the UNC Landback Abolition Project on Sept. 21.
Civil rights historian, educator and activist Mason-Hogans gave this comment about her family at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. The event was the Landback Abolition Project’s second in-person gathering since its creation last fall.
Mason-Hogans was one of the two featured speakers at the event, along with Shuhud Mustafa, a UNC senior engaged in research with the Landback Abolition Project.
“I think we’re kind of just now starting to get into the groove of hosting events and having enough research compiled and enough people involved to do that,” Mackie Jackson, a UNC junior and the project’s social media manager, said.
The project is based in the UNC geography department and facilitates public-facing primary research centered around how UNC has benefitted from enslaved labor and the sale of Native lands.
During the event, Mustafa presented research that she began conducting in spring 2023 advised by professor Sara Smith. She described her research as centering on connections between policing and the University.
In her presentation, Mustafa said her research has led her to note that police mobilization on campus has historically been tied with student protests — specifically anti-racist protests.
She also said she hopes her personal research, as well as the larger Landback Abolition Project, is able to increase transparency in regard to the University's history.