Loading Events

Service, Not Servitude: The 1969 Food Workers’ Strikes at UNC-Chapel Hill

Update: This exhibition has been extended through June 9, 2019

Fifty years after one of the longest labor actions in University history, a new exhibition at the Wilson Special Collections Library looks back at this tumultuous moment of campus life.

“Service, Not Servitude: The 1969 Food Workers’ Strikes at UNC-Chapel Hill” uses photographs, news articles and administrative documents to capture this period of campus protest that pitted workers and their allies against the University’s administration and state officials.

On Sunday, February 23, 1969, 16 food service employees staged a walkout at Lenoir Dining Hall. The workers, mostly African American, were frustrated by the failure of University administrators to respond to grievances over low pay and unfair labor practices.

One of the first actions of the newly formed Black Student Movement was to lend support to the strikers. Many students boycotted Lenoir and some even operated an alternative cafeteria in nearby Manning Hall so as not to cross the picket lines.

By the strike’s end on March 21, the governor of North Carolina had called the Highway Patrol to campus and mobilized the National Guard nearby in Durham. Days later, the University contracted all dining operations to SAGA Food Services, resulting in a second strike to protest SAGA’s management practices.

“Service, Not Servitude” will be on view in the North Carolina Collection Gallery of the Wilson Special Collections Library through May 31 June 9. It is free and open to the public whenever Wilson Library is open.

Service, Not Servitude: The 1969 Food Workers’ Strike at UNC-Chapel Hilll
North Carolina Collection Gallery
Wilson Special Collections Library
On view through May 31 June 9, 2019
Free and open to the public
(919) 962-3765 or wilsonlibrary@unc.edu

Other Events of Interest

See all Events
  • -
    Wilson Library200 South RdChapel Hill27599 | Free

    An exhibition of photographs in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of Wilson Library provides a look at African-American life and culture in a small Mississippi town during the 1970s.

  • Campus Health Services320 Emergency Room DriveChapel HillNC27599 |

    Lear more about waiving or enrolling in the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan

  • -
    Wilson Library200 South RdChapel Hill27599 | Free

    Centuries of scribbles, doodles and notes in books will be on view as part of “The Uses of Books: Early Modern Readers Revealed,” an exhibition at the Wilson Special Collections Library from May 23 through September 8, 2019.