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Cash, Wilbur J. (1900-1941)

Although historians disagree regarding W.J. Cash’s conclusions about the Old and New South, they agree that all serious scholars of Southern history and culture must be familiar with Mind of the South.  In it, the North Carolinian predicted the Civil Rights Movement.  He died an untimely death in Mexico City in 1941.  

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Shaw University

From its beginning in 1865, Shaw University has been a forerunner in starting educational programs among historically black colleges, and in 1960, it served as the birthplace of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the Civil Rights Movement.

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Student Nonviolent Coorinating Committee (SNCC)

Started by Ella Baker, a Shaw University alumna, SNCC used a more decentralized and local strategy than other civil rights organizations and provided leadership examples for other 1960s protest groups.  After SNCC’s formation at the Raleigh institutution, sit-ins became more frequent.  As the decade continued, SNCC leadership started emphasizing Black Power, contradicting conservative, ministerial leadership in other organizations, and thereby revealing discontent and disagreement within the Civil Rights Movement.

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Baker, Ella (1903 - 1986)

A North Carolina native, Ella Baker played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement and in forming the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at Shaw University.  

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Griggs v. Duke Power

Griggs v. Duke Power Company was a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971. It concerned the legality, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, of high school diplomas and intelligence test scores as prerequisites for employment. The court ruled unanimously against the intelligence testing practices of the Duke Power Company. In his opinion, Chief Justice Warren Burger argued that employers can use intelligence tests only if "they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance."

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Swann v. Charlotte

Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20, 1971, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education dealt with the desegregation plan adopted by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Chief Justice Warren Burger rendered the opinion of the court, and its decision was unanimous. The product of several years of NAACP litigation, the Swann decision lent the imprimatur of the Court to busing as a solution to inadequately desegregated public schools.  

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Greensboro Sit-In

On February 1, 1960, four African-American students of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University sat at a white-only lunch counter inside a Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth’s store. While sit-ins had been held elsewhere in the United States, the Greensboro sit-in catalyzed a wave of nonviolent protest against private-sector segregation in the United States.

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Hawkins, Reginald

Reginald Hawkins was as an boisterous and confrontational desegregation activist of the 1950s and 60s. His passionate avocation for racial equality propelled him to the national civil rights spotlight and helped to dismantle segregation in North Carolina and the South.

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Counts, Dorothy

Realizing desegregation was unavoidable, Charlotte School Board members ordered four black students to attend four non-integrated schools in the area.  Dorothy Counts, one of the four students, was assigned to Harding High School and required to report there on September 4, 1957.  While escorted by Reginald Hawkins, Counts was heckled, hissed, and spat upon while walking to the school.

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Residential segregation

Residential segregation is the phenomenon of individuals of a particular ethnicity inhabiting dwellings in a particular area. Though residential segregation of whites and African-Americans was enforced by law in many major U.S. cities, government enforcement of residential segregation in the United States ended after the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the 1948 case Shelley v. Kraemer. Residential segregation has nevertheless persisted as a sociological phenomenon in the United States, even after its legal basis has ended.