ORGANIZATION HISTORY

Compiled by: M. Cookie Newsom, Ph.D.
Director of Diversity Education and Assessment
Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • The 1970's
  • The 1980's
  • The 1990's

The 1970's: The BFSC is formed, and seeks purpose, authority and recognition of mission

  1. The Charter of the BFSC was signed by Dr. Charles E. Daye, Presiding Officer and Harold G. Wallace, Secretary/Treasurer on November 6, 1974. The reasons for the formation of the Caucus became apparent based on what they focused on in the next month.
  2. January 9, 1975, the Steering committee, comprised of the following people: Carl Smith, Elizabeth Mosby, Sonja Stone, Harold Wallace, and Charles Daye petitioned Chancellor Taylor to be recognized by the university as an organization. Chancellor Taylor, dodging a bullet, wrote back February 5, 1975 stating that he "received their request; however, he was informed that, except with respect to student organizations, there exists no formal or informal procedure for recognition of organizations composed of University personnel. Faculty and staff are, I believe, free to associate themselves as they wish (except to the extent they may be prohibited by State law from organizing unions for collective bargaining purposes). Thus, it appears that there is neither a requirement nor a practice that the Chancellor's approval be obtained in order for your organization to exist and to carry out its functions." Therefore he did not have to confront the specter of extending institutional approval to this radical band of trouble makers.
  3. May 8, 1979: Harold G. Wallace, writing for the steering committee of the Black Faculty/Staff Caucus, sent a letter with a resolution concerning tenure, promotions, and reappointment at the University. A copy was enclosed, entitled: STATEMENT by the Black Faculty/Staff Caucus, UNC-CH Regarding Tenure, Promotion, and Reappointment. (40076, Box 1:7)
  4. May 17, 1978: The Black Faculty-Staff Caucus sponsored a workshop on Academic Tenure and the Tenure Process used to disseminate detailed information on the rules and regulations governing the tenure process at UNC.

The '80s: The BFSC Comes of Age

  1. On September 8, 1981, Professor Audreye E. Johnson, Chairperson of BFSC wrote a letter to Chancellor Fordham regarding a request to meet with he and vice chancellor Wallace and professor Cell to discuss common interests; at the meeting (according to a letter from the chancellor) a few faculty members inquired into the proper avenue for grievance and appropriate party to who they could report events about discrimination in regards to rental housing and rental car services. The Chancellor suggested the Consumer Protection Agency in Raleigh. They also met with Mr. A.C. Robbins of the Chapel Hill Board of Realtors and the North Carolina Association of Realtors.
  2. In May 1982, the BFSC wrote a Position paper titled: Recruitment, Employment, and Retention of Black Faculty and Staff They stated that they maintained their concern about various issues relative to the overall status of Black faculty, staff and students at UNC-CH.

The '90s

The Bicentennial Video Project Committee included Dr. Marion Phillips, Associate Dean, School of Medicine (Chair); Vice Chancellor Harold Wallace, University Affairs; Devena L. Byrd, Development Office; and Faye Mitchell Henderson, WUNC Radio (from document entitled The Black Faculty/Staff Caucus Bicentennial Video Project) (40135, Box 2:5)

Goal of the project: increase awareness of African-American contributions to the well being of the University of North Carolina in a variety of ways including the economic, political, cultural, and social roles they have played; thus directly and significantly benefiting the entire state. This video will celebrate the integral part played by and contributions of African-Americans to the University and to the state, and will fill a void with accurate and continuous information regarding the African-American presence at the University of North Carolina. It will provide an important historical link to past individuals, ideas, and movements, while offering inspiration for the future. By addressing these needs, the video will meet several criteria of the Bicentennial observance; including showcasing the University's diversity, being a vehicle for bringing various members of the University community together, fostering a sense of pride and commitment, while highlighting outstanding African-American Achievement. (From document entitled The Black Faculty/Staff Caucus Bicentennial Video Project) (40135, Box 2:5)

In June 28, 1991 letter, Clifford H. Charles, the newly-elected Chairman of the BFSC for the 1991-1992 academic year, introduced himself to Chancellor Hardin and discussed the goals of BFSC for the academic year, which many of the major activities will be focused upon.

  1. To orient the university community to the needs of African-American faculty, staff, and students on campus and to be an advocate for those needs.
  2. To participate in search committee efforts on campus for the purpose of enhancing and increasing the presence of African-Americans and other people of color.
  3. To monitor the state of Black affairs and take appropriate action such as the preparation of position papers when necessary.
  4. To publicize and celebrate the scholarship and accomplishments of African-American faculty, staff, and students on the Carolina campus.
  5. To provide services to the local community and state, when appropriate, with special emphasis on African-American youth.
  6. To encourage the University's efforts to achieve a free and open community that values and responds positively to racial and cultural diversity as essential elements in a university community. (40039, Box 1:5)

On a December 11, 1991 general body meeting, the BFSC issued a resolution which was unanimously approved (according to a January 8, 1992 letter sent to William Little, Interim Provost), which honored the life and work of the late Dr. Sonja H. Stone. It stated that the BFSC was established November 14, 1974 and that the BFSC wanted to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Stone. They proposed three goals (40039, Box 1:5):

  1. the naming of the Black Cultural Center as the Sonja H. Stone Black Cultural Center,
  2. the establishment of an endowed chair in Dr. Stone's name, and
  3. the upgrading of the African/Afro-American Studies curriculum to departmental status

In a January 16, 1992 letter from Chancellor Hardin to Dr. Clifford Charles, Chair of BFSC, the Chancellor stated that he supported immediately and decisively the first of those goals – to honor the life and work of Dr. Stone by naming the Black Cultural Center in her memory; however, he did not feel it appropriate for [him] to endorse and commit publicly, as Chancellor, to the other two goals. He explained that endowed chairs are established when a donor or set of donors gives to the university for that purpose and that the conversion of curriculum to department must come from an initiative from the faculty of the curriculum. (40039, Box 1:5)